Woodruff and Colleagues

ncreasing Team Productivity

One client I worked with on conducting information interviews shared their experiences with me.  They were naturally an introvert, the type of person who reacts to their experiences by observing and reflecting, as opposed to an extrovert or reacts by engagement, involvement and taking action.  Reaching out to strangers is often a very difficult task for introverts.  For this client, by their own admission, picking up the phone and dialing the number of the person for their first information interview was so nerve-wracking that they believed they were going to be sick to their stomach when they heard the ring tone.  They managed to survive without being sick and managed to arrange their first appointment.  This meeting went quite well, in fact at the end there was indication this person might hire them in the future.  That was wonderful, and it motivated them to make 3 additional calls.  The last call proved to be difficult, where the person on the other end of the line was clearly not comfortable making an appointment.  This client persevered and eventually the appointment was agreed upon.  Once in the meeting room my client experienced a lecture unlike any they had ever had.  The person was saying, “How dare you contact me”, “How dare you expect me to give you my time”, “What makes you think you can just call up someone who is so clearly above your status let alone ask for time from them?”  As you can imagine, it was extremely uncomfortable for my client.  Upon hearing this, I was shocked, and very disappointed.  Although it was obvious this had been a harrowing experience, I asked this client “How did you feel when this happened?”.  They responded with “Horrible, I felt sick.  I wished I’d never met this person.”.  That was when I said “Perfect!  That was the best information interview ever!  Can you imagine if you had submitted a resume and cover letter, got an interview, and the position, and then found out you would be working with this person?”  Best information interview ever!


Information Interviews are my absolute favourite way to learn about a company, and positions that company hires for.  In my experience information interviews have resulted in several job offers.  That said, however, there is a reason why they work, and if you stray from that reason, they probably won`t work.  The reason?  You must be 100% completely and honestly NOT looking to get a job offer.  You have to be committed to ONLY discovering information.  If the reason you’re conducting information interviews is an attempt to avoid the traditional submission of documents and jump right to an offer, don’t bother.  The potential employer will call you out on misleading them, and cut your time short.


If you would like the 5-step guide to conducting information interviews, click here.

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