Many people hate informational interviews. It is not that they hate the interviews but they are afraid no one will want to talk to them. They are afraid to reach out to people they don’t know yet and ask them to chat.
This is pretty natural. Most of us hate cold calling and this is as close to cold calling as many of us non-sales people will ever come. It brings me to shudders even now.
Yet informational or networking interviews are a great way to meet people. Meeting people leads to building relationships which is the best way to find a job. So despite our trepidation we must reach out and connect with people we don’t yet know. And we must talk with them one on one to build relationships.
Short of just say, “Get over it”, let’s look at this a little scientifically.
My husband, Kermit, is a great sales person. He appears to be completely fearless about stepping out to meet people he does not yet know. He is methodical about cold calling and relationship building. Here is his approach to getting the courage to talk to people you don’t yet know.
He said there are three outcomes when you call someone for information:
- Yes, I would love to talk with you.
- Yes, I would love to talk with you but I am really busy right now. Can we schedule a time to talk in a few weeks?
- No, I do not have time or I don’t want to talk with you.
Two-thirds of the time you can make an appointment. Those are pretty good odds!
Ah, you counter, what if they don’t answer the phone or respond to the email? Then none of the three options occurred. We might assume that the other person falls into the third option but we really don’t have enough information to make that conclusion.
Chuck had that issue. He reached out to the hiring manager for a position he wanted. The person responded and then they had a nice phone conversation. Yeah! We have outcome #1. And the hiring manager is no longer a stranger. A great start.
Then the hiring manager said let’s connect again in a few weeks after I finish this big project. Yeah! We also have outcome #2. But then nothing happened. The hiring manager did not respond to further emails. Chuck is at a standstill.
No response is not exactly a #3 brushoff. It is just not a response. Chuck needs to create a tickler file to follow up with the hiring manager in a few weeks with another note. Eventually the hiring manager will respond… or he won’t. But in the meantime Chuck needs to move on to another lead. Or ten other leads. Because finding a job is a numbers game.