Thursday, September 24, 2015

3 ways to get the most out of an informational interview

3 ways to get the most out of an informational interview

It became clear to me very quickly when I was a recruiter that one of the most misunderstood facets of the interview process is the informational interview. All too often, I've had to be the bearer of bad news to friends who didn't quite understand what to expect from one.
"But, they don't schedule them with just anyone," they said. "As long as I impress the person, the company's going to create a job for me — I just know it!" To which I unfortunately had to reply, "They get scheduled more often than you might think."
Hiring managers do schedule them to build their pipelines for future positions down the road. They don't, however, conduct them because they're prepared to hire that person. While this dose of reality might come as a blow, there is a lot you can gain from the informational interview you've just scheduled.
Here are three things you can (and should) get out of an informal conversation with The Person In Charge.

1. Information you can use to decide if you actually want to work at that company someday

Informational interviews are exactly what the name indicates. They're informational. And because the stakes aren't quite as high, you should feel free to ask as many questions as you'd like — even if that means your "interview" becomes more like a conversation in which you find yourself interrupting the interviewer a bit (emphasis on a bit).
Typically, you should only be scheduling them with companies you're interested in working for someday. So, take the opportunity to confirm that you'd be really excited if they called you about a role that is just for you down the road. You might love the fact the office offers free lunch on Wednesdays, but this is a really great way to find out if actually working there is as awesome as that perk.

2. Details about when a job might open up for you (or not)

There's no gig waiting for you at the end of your informational interview, but that doesn't mean more roles aren't bubbling at the surface on the recruiter's end.
When my career was searching for great candidates, I was in more meetings about future roles than I was about our current openings. I generally knew three to four weeks in advance of a job being posted to our careers site. And when I conducted informational interviews with candidates, I didn't necessarily say, "We'll have something for you next week!" But, I was fairly upfront about when someone could expect to hear from me about a position I knew I'd have to start working on.
At this point, you already know to ask as many questions as you'd like in your informational interview. And while it might seem a bit presumptuous to ask about any future roles the hiring manager might be thinking of for you, think again. Recruiters don't have much time, and while these informal conversations are being scheduled fairly often, you're right in thinking that they're not just being scheduled with anyone.

3. A connection you didn't have before

Of course, the point of an informational interview is to get an "in" with a company you're super excited to (possibly) work for someday. However, it's no secret (at least anymore) that recruiters aren't shy. In fact, when it comes to sharing resumes with each other, hiring managers actually do it more often than you might think.
While the company you're interviewing with might not have a role for you right now, the person you speak with might know of something for you at another one that is just as cool. In fact, after getting to know you a bit, the Person In Charge might actually determine you'd be happier somewhere else. And if he or she knows of that somewhere else, don't be surprised if you find yourself hearing from him or her. That is, assuming you nail the informational interview, of course.
Although it can be a bummer to realize that the informational interview you've been prepping for probably won't yield immediate results, there are plenty of other reasons to schedule them — especially when it means you get to chat with someone at a company you've really admired for a long time. Once you've taken the time to understand what you can gain from taking a few minutes for a quick conversation with a recruiter, you'll quickly find that even without the promise of a job at the end of the tunnel, there's plenty that you stand to learn from these informal chats.

Find full article here!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

How to respond to an email you forgot about

How to respond to an email you forgot about

You’re going through your inbox, deciding which emails should be archived and which should be saved, and there is it: an email from a week ago (or even further out). Maybe it came in during an onslaught and this is the first time you’ve seen it; or perhaps, you remember thinking you’d come back to it — and then it fell off of your radar. Regardless, someone sent you an email, and you never responded.
Let’s get your first question out of the way: Do you still need to reply? While it’s tempting to blame it on your SPAM filter and pretend it never happened, the answer is yes — assuming the email comes from someone you know. (Naturally, I’m not suggesting you reply to every newsletter or cold email you receive.) According to Emily Post’s list of the “Top Ten Email Manners,” the number one rule of email is: “Always Respond.”
Here are four questions to ask yourself before you send back your reply:

1. It is worth saying why?

An excuse doesn’t make your lapse any better. In fact, it can backfire and make it seem like you think it’s no big deal. In other words, if you say, “I’m so sorry: I’ve just been so busy at work!” it won’t make your contact feel any better. But it could make him feel like responding to him is low on your list of priorities or like you think it’s OK to take 10 days to reply when things get hectic.
However, sharing something can soften the blow, because it reminds the other person that you’re human and we’ve all been there. For example, sometimes people will go weeks without getting back to me on Facebook or LinkedIn and after a “Please excuse my delay in response,” they’ll add that they “don’t sign into LinkedIn nearly as often as [they] should” or “never check Facebook messages.” Another example might be including that you went on an impromptu vacation and forgot to set an away message, or that you had a family emergency and lost track of emails sent while you were out of the office.
Including these humanizing details can make your lapse more relatable.

2. Do you answer the original question?

If it’s been more than a week since your contact sent his or her email, you can’t just get down right down to business. Because if you skip the apology, you risk her thinking that five (or more) day response times is how you do business.
Frankly, it doesn’t really matter what line you choose. You can go with  “I’m sorry for just getting back to you now” or “Apologies for the delay in response,” or anything in between. Then, per the point above, decide if it’s worth including one more line on the matter.
However, the next, essential step is that you move on and handle the matter at hand. 
Over-apologizing makes the missed email a bigger deal than it is, and it distracts from the real reason you’re writing the person back, which is to answer his or her email.

It looks like this: “Apologies for my delay in response. I’m just now catching up on emails from while I was vacation! As far as your questions regarding the upcoming event…” By getting to the matter at hand, you — and your contact — can move forward. After all, a brief apology and a well-thought-out answer to her inquiry will prove much more useful than a long apology and no concrete answer (yet again).

3. Is this particular email chain still relevant?

Of course, there are times when emails go an absurdly long time. You know the kind: You view it one morning while you’re making breakfast, forget about it by the time you get to the office, and are only reminded of it two months later when searching for something else.
If the request is fairly evergreen (e.g., someone asked you if you’d ever like to meet for coffee), you can write back apologizing for the delay and then share if you’re interested. However, if someone had asked for your notes on a letter that went out a month ago, she clearly doesn’t need your feedback anymore.
In this case, you have two options. The first is to reply, saying sorry for letting this fall off of your radar and offering future assistance. The second option, if let’s say, you realize you accidentally dodged an email from someone you have — or would like to have — a strong working relationship with is to fold this into a different email, or even a phone call. It can actually serve as a great “excuse” to reach out to someone.

4. What do you plan to do moving forward?

OK, this one is just for you. Because, while most people will overlook one missed response, you don’t want become someone who is known for being terrible with email. Or worse, look like someone who writes, “Apologies for the delay in response,” and then continues to be inconsistent.
So, remember that actions speak louder than words and set up a new system. It may mean being meticulous about scrolling through emails after time away from the office, or keeping a list of emails you open after business hours so that you’ll be sure to actually write back the next time you’re at your desk. Missing an email happens to everyone — just don’t let it become a habit

Find full article here!