Roland B. Vendeland

Warmth, wisdom, and wit.

Roland B. Vendeland

Convert Job Interview into Networking Opportunity

Are you looking for an effective job search technique? Try turning a job interview into an informational interview.Yes, I know, the purpose of networking is to get a job interview and secure a job. Why in the world would anybody want to turn a job interview into an informational interview?

Well, have you ever been in a job interview where you just knew that the company was right for you, but the job that you were interviewing for wasn’t? Too embarrassed to answer? No need. Most of us have been there.

Let me guess what you did.

No, I’m not clairvoyant. I’ve been there, done that and heard enough versions of the same story from others. So why do we do it? Because we don’t know any better.

Let me explain with a story.

A couple of years ago my cousin Igor moved here from the old country. I helped him get a job. I thought that he would be grateful, but when I saw him after his first week on the job, he complained that he never got anything good to eat during the working day.

“They’re paying you,” I told him. “So buy your lunch.”

He said he didn’t know how to order.

“Tell the waitress that you want apple pie and coffee,” I said.

The next week he was complaining to me again that he was tired of eating the same thing every day.

“So order a roast beef sandwich and coffee,” I told him.

The next day I passed the restaurant where he ate lunch and saw him eating apple pie and coffee.

“What happened?” I asked.

He had ordered a roast beef sandwich and coffee. The waitress asked if he wanted white or rye bread. Not knowing what to do, he replied, “Apple pie and coffee.”

Not knowing what to do in certain interview situations, we fall back on old behaviors. In the case of interviewing for the wrong job, we decline it and salve our wounded egos by contending that we didn’t want the job anyway.

Next time you find yourself in that situation consider conducting an informational interview.

No, I've never gotten a job this way, but three of my clients have. I’ve yet to hear of anyone purposely setting up a job interview to turn it into an informational interview. But then again, Igor now orders a roast beef sandwich on rye, apple pie ala mode and latte.