First of all: what does one of these informational interview things look like? We thought you might like to see for yourself in this short video…
Amy Rhodes…..Publishing Consultant, Sales & Marketing Guru, Interviewer
Livia Nelson…..Trendsetter Intern, Rising College Senior, Interviewee
Winter break of my senior year of college, I got an “Informational Interview” with Random House. I took the 10 hour train ride back to New York several days early, slept on the floor of a friend’s friend, and showed up the next morning, poised with nerves, in the lobby of an enormous conference center… with hundreds of other college kids in suit jackets. I was told to follow “RH” Arrows, down a hall, and to “take a seat with the other candidates. Your number will be called.”
Where was I? What kind of interview asks you to wait in line with 10 other people? The informational kind, it turns out. By the time I buzzed into a room filled with people at tables answering questions, answered about four questions myself, and buzzed out, the whole thing had turned into one enormous enigma: What was the point of that?
There was no job I was a candidate for. No specific department got a look at me. What kind of HR contraption had I been sucked into, and what could the publishers possibly be getting out of this?
For most publishers, the answer is “nothing.” “It’s called being nice,” says Amy Rhodes, publishing consultant at Market Partners International–and interviewer in this video. Turns out the Random House informational interview machine may be unique (when you’re that big, it’s pretty easy to be unique). Informational interviews are usually a place for individual job seekers to meet with individual departmental employees, and get some information from the inside that they wouldn’t otherwise have had.
All in all, this largely falls under the networking umbrella, but it’s great practice for sitting back and let a professional ask questions in a more structured way.