Monday, April 4, 2011

A Different Type of Job Interview

We've discussed the nonprofit job interview in great length already, but today I want to talk about a different kind of job interview: the informational interview.  What is it exactly?  Well, it's just like a normal job interview but with less pressure and here's the kicker: you are doing the questioning, for the most part.

A lot of times during the nonprofit job search process, we rely on learning about nonprofit jobs by browsing job boards and then submitting our resume and cover letter for consideration.  There's nothing wrong with this, of course, but there are ways to go the extra mile that will really impress the organization; and this is where the informational interview comes in.  Many nonprofits that are offering jobs are usually willing to grant these kinds of job interviews; all you have to do is ask.  Of course, this is where contacts you have gained from networking will help, because if they know someone at the organization, they can help you find the appropriate person to contact.

So what is going to happen at an informational interview?  Well, as the title implies, you are going to be getting more information about the available job.  You should prepare at least ten questions to ask the interviewer, and you should also bring your resume and cover letter (even if you have already submitted it) to hand in.  That way, they will have all the information about you in front of them.

Just because the informational interview is a little less stressful, it doesn't mean it is any less formal, however.  You should dress as you normally would at a regular nonprofit job interview, and conduct yourself the same way.  You should also be sure to attempt to build a strong rapport with the interviewer; the more he/she remembers you, the better chance you will have in being offered a position.  And of course, after the interview you should write a thank you note to express your gratitude.

Anyone have any experience with informational interviews?  I'd love to hear your stories!

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