An important tool for finding a job
There are many ways to obtain information about companies for which we would like to work. You might find some information on the Internet if the company has a web-site, read the company annual reports, or speak with friends to obtain their opinions. The best method, however, not only allows you to gather information about the company, it also permits you to present yourself and your qualifications personally to someone in a position of authority within the company.
What’s its purpose?
This tool is called the information meeting or information interview, a tool which known to few people but is worth the effort. This job-search tool allows you to build a network of professional contacts with employers or with people in the same jobfield which interests you.
It is a strong method to make yourself known to potential employers or contacts, and it makes an impressive impact on your image as it shows your sense of initiative and motivation. As the purpose of the information meeting is for you to gather information to know the company better, it shows your interest in the company itself and not just about a job that may materialise.
The first goal of an information meeting is to meet with the contact person face-to-face. You will gather information about the company all while indicating how your background and experience would fit into their needs. Be careful however, this is not an employment interview and you should not lose your focus. But you do want to mention your qualifications to meet eventual needs within the company. To sum up, the information meeting allows you to meet people with connections and influence, develop a network of contact people, gather information, and improve your confidence for future interviews.
How can we prepare?
When contacting potential employers, your first aim is to set up a face-to-face meeting. Employers may mention that there are no positions available at the time, they may tell you to simply send in a resume… but you must try to ask for a meeting, if only to present your resume in person and have a few minutes to present yourself and ask some questions.
Be polite, and considerate of the employer’s busy schedule, but reassure the employer that their time will be well spent in meeting with you. Be sure to thank the employer, whether you obtain a meeting or not. You must prepare yourself for an information meeting as well as you would for an interview. You must make a positive impression and create a professional image. Prepare a list of questions that you wish to ask the employer, research the company to be able to explain how your abilities and experience may fit into their present or eventual needs.
A prepared, organised, courteous and professional individual is someone the employer will remember when the next position becomes available. The face-to-face meeting will put your name at the top of her/his list as soon as they need someone. You will have saved the employer the long and costly process of finding the right person, because you will have already done the selection work for them!
Most people like to talk about what they do, and what their company’s activities involve, they are often flattered that you are interested in their company. This job-search strategy allows you to be pro-active and stay in control of your search. Remember also to ask for any leads they may offer you, or other resource people that may be interested in meeting with you. Always thank the person for their time, and ask if you can call periodically to see if they have come across any leads for you. Your professional network will increase daily in this manner. For more information on how the Cote-des-Neiges Job Search Center can help you learn this job-search strategy and many others.