The informational interview is an important tool for you to use in your job hunt, as it’s a popular way of networking within your industry in Canada. You will be amazed at how friendly and open people will be to meeting with you if you take the chance and ask. Remember — he who dares, wins! An informational interview is essentially the art of leveraging or making a new contact within your industry and getting together to learn more from this person about how this sector operates. It’s a casual interview where the end goal is to learn about how your industry works in Canada and increase your chances of finding employment.
Steps to a successful informational interview
Step 1: Find a single industry contact
Use Google, join Moving2Canada on LinkedIn, or use business directories to come up with a list of companies in your specific field. If you have a contact through a friend or if we introduce you to a contact, then this saves you the hardest part.
Step 2: Make a request for a short meeting
Send a short, concise email that really sells your skill set and experience level (you don’t necessarily need to send your resume at this point) or give them a quick call. Ask if they would be willing to meet you for a coffee to discuss how the [insert particular field of work] industry works. For example, “Would you be open to meeting for a coffee at a time that suits your schedule?” We always recommend using telephone over email, where possible.
Do not lead by asking for a job; ask them for their help and guidance. Asking someone for coffee is a common Canadian practice, and this will allow you 15-20 minutes to interview this person and gain key insights. You could possibly make new connections in your industry.
If you do not get a response to your email, always follow up within 3-4 days. Your goal is to show this person that you would like to meet them, so don’t be shy. Following up by email or telephone will show this person that you are motivated.