Effective informational interviewing starts with a specific job target in mind. Once you’ve done your research and know something about your goal and the industry, you can start to seek out professionals that will be willing to meet with you. You can choose to meet with people doing the job or the hiring managers. You may benefit by speaking with both. From the professional in the field, you’ll get perspective on what the job involves on a daily basis, trends in the industry, and how the job matches up with your interests and abilities. From the hiring manager, you’ll learn what companies look for in candidates, how they evaluate skills and education, and what a typical career path might look like.
The informational interview is a mature technique (that ‘s a nice way of saying “old;” everyone’s heard of it and used it.) Asher’s fresh technique was to call a meeting to become a “candidate in waiting.” Asher says that smart managers know that they must be ready to replace key talent at a moment’s notice. People move, have emergencies, and get promoted all the time. It’s good policy to have a network of candidates in waiting who you’ve met, vetted, and know are interested in your company.