Candidate Pools & Proactive Recruiting

Encouraging Informational Interviews

Career coaches often recommend that job seekers set up informational interviews, in order to explore career paths and employment opportunities. Although typically initiated by job seekers, informational interviews have advantages for employers as well.

In fact, employers may want to consider encouraging and initiating informational interviews.

Advantages of Sharing Information

An informational interview, for those unfamiliar with the term, is just like it sounds. It’s still an interview, but instead of trying to land a particular job, the interviewee wants to obtain information.

For an employer, this provides an ideal opportunity to showcase everything the company has to offer.

Points for discussion, from the employer side of the desk, may include:

  • Corporate culture
  • Career paths
  • Skills development opportunities
  • Education and training
  • Advancement potential
  • Benefits
  • Work environment
  • Hiring process
  • Current job openings

Recruiting Opportunity

Many of these points would be covered in a traditional job interview. One difference is that an informational interview is less specific. For example, in an informational interview, an employer would provide an overview of benefits, as opposed to a benefits package for a given job.

By the same token, there is no targeted outcome from this meeting. Where a job interview presumes an outcome if there is a fit, an informational interview is merely a meet and greet … unless one party initiates a next step.

An employer can be that party.

You’ll note that “hiring process” and “current job openings” are points for discussion, at the end of the list. If the person seems like a potential candidate, your company has a recruiting opportunity and should take full advantage of it by sharing this information.

Reaching Out

Informational interviews are perceived as time-consuming, and therefore companies sometimes don’t pursue these meetings. However, “time savings” results in missed opportunities—missed recruiting opportunities.

If you’re interested in recruiting candidates for current and future job openings, encourage informational interviews.

Here are a few ways to this.

Welcome to our casa. Hold an open house, solely for the purpose of letting people in the community learn more about your company and its career opportunities. Conduct informational interviews with people of interest during the event, or set up times to meet with them soon after.

Get social. Use social media to invite people to learn more about your company and its career opportunities. Follow up by scheduling informational interviews.

You’re also invited. Include a similar invitation on your careers site or careers page – something along the lines of “we invite you to learn more about our company and its career opportunities,” with further instructions.

Mutually Beneficial

Informational interviews allow interested individuals to explore what a company has to offer, without the pressure or commitment of a formal job interview. This makes them especially attractive to job seekers.

Because they allow companies to learn about potential job candidates, informational interviews are also a win for employers.

Why not take a meeting or two … or more?

Paula Paula Santonocito, Contributing Editor for Recruiting Daily Advisor, is a business journalist specializing in employment issues. She is the author of more than 1,000 articles on a wide range of human resource and career topics, with an emphasis on recruiting and hiring. Her articles have been featured in many global and domestic publications and information outlets, referenced in academic and legal publications as well as books, and translated into several languages.