Many people find work by networking and making contacts - that way when a job vacancy becomes available
they are the first person the employer thinks of before even advertising a position. Expanding your network and developing contacts is a good way to help you access a hidden job market. A good way to do this is to have information interviews with people in the field you wish to work in; this could be in person, online (via email or Skype) or on the phone. The questions below will give you an idea of the type of questions you should ask.
Questions you should research before you meet them:
- Do I have any skills, knowledge or experience that could be relevant and useful to this organisation?
- How is the organisation structured by client group, business area, or by region?
- What recent press coverage has the organisation received, if any?
- How successful is the organisation and what does it see as its strengths and weaknesses?
- What type of work do you do?
- What does an average day entail for you?
- What do you enjoy most/least about your job?
- What are the advantages/disadvantages about working for a business of this size?
- In your opinion, what are the key skills required for your role?
- What attributes make the difference between simply doing the job and doing it well?
- What do clients/customers want from you?
- How do you deal with difficult situations/clients?
- How much does your job affect your work/life balance?
- How often do you work at weekends/late in the evening?
- How important is teamwork/working on your own initiative in your job?
- How much time do you spend in the office/outside of the office?
- How much contact do you have with clients?
- How do you build a relationship with a client?
- How much supervision did you get as a new employee?
- Why did you choose a career in this area?
- Did you have a previous career and if so what areas did you work in?
- What previous experience did you have that helped you in this role?
- How long have you been in this role and how long has it taken you to reach your current situation/status?
- Who are your main competitors?
- What are the issues facing your company in the next 5/10 years?
- Do you think there is a particular growth area in your sector at the moment?
- How do you see your role changing over the next 5 years?
- How would you describe the culture of the company?
- What was your strategy when applying for vacancies?
- What could I do to compensate for lack of experience?
- What was the most useful advice that you were given when applying?
- How did you find companies that appealed to you/felt right for you?
- How would you recommend researching companies other than just using the web?
- Do you have any interview tips?
- What questions should I ask the interview panel at the end?
- What would be the key qualities that your company looks for in a candidate?
- If I don’t get a position straight away what other route would you recommend?
- If you have focussed your career on one area, can you change/how easy is it to change career paths?
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
What advice can they give to you?
- How can I build upon my networks?
- How can I use the skills I already have to market myself to my full potential?
- What kind of work experience would be beneficial to me?
- How can I demonstrate my commercial awareness?
- Is there anybody else you would recommend I speak to either in this organisation or whom you know from elsewhere?
N.B: The information in this leaflet is correct as of August 2016.
Compiled by: Career and Employment office, University of Hertfordshire