You’re probably asking yourself the same question: what is an exploratory interview? When you’re interviewing for a job, gearing yourself up to attend an official, formal interview is extremely nerve-wracking.
However, with an exploratory interview, you’re in luck. Exploratory interviews are conversational and informal and aren’t really an interview to gauge your fit for a job. Instead, they’re used more as marketing and networking tools for the field you’re hoping to work in to make stronger connections with your colleagues. In an exploratory interview, the job candidate asks the interviewer questions to see if the company is a good fit for them without the pressures of actually impressing them.
The Advantages of an Exploratory Interview
An exploratory interview is an amazing opportunity that can give you the inside scoop on what’s really going on in the industry or the company from an inside perspective, as opposed to relying only on the available public information. This kind of interview allows you to network with important people in the industry without the pressure of being in the position of an official candidate. Plus, informal interviews like these can help you confirm your skill set and affirm that this career path is the right fit for you. Conversational interviews make this much easier.
How to Set an Exploratory Interview Up
Because an exploratory interview isn’t your typical formal interview, there’s a different way to go about getting things set up. The first step is to figure out who your contacts are and how you’re going to reach out to those people in your field. You might have to wrack your brain a bit to get started with this!
Start with speaking to people you know like friends and former colleagues. If you’re in a professional organization for your profession, ask some of the other people in the organization with you to see if they might have any connections that could help. Asking your friends and colleagues might be awkward, but you can rest securely in the knowledge that the connection you’ll make is solid and will be worth it in the end for the networking opportunities you’ll create. If your friends or colleagues don’t have connections, don’t be afraid to try LinkedIn as well!
If the people you know don’t have any personal connections or associations, then another option is to cold call the company that you’re interested in having an exploratory interview with. However, you must remember to do your research on the company before you begin your cold calls!
When you reach out with a cold call, be cognizant of the fact that the CEO is likely going to be busy most of the time. As a result, when you reach out to make your call, try to establish the first contact with another officer like the COO or CFO. Their schedules are likely less busy and will be more available to meet with you.
Remember: you are not asking for a job! In an exploratory interview, you’re just looking for information on the company and its practices and looking to hopefully establish a professional working relationship.
How to Make Your Interview Successful
Once you’ve established the time and date for your interview, it’s time to get prepped and ready for it!
The first thing you should do when you’ve gotten an interview is to do your research. Look into the information that the company has posted publicly and how you can apply that knowledge to your conversation. You want to show in this interview that you are knowledgeable about the field and the company, and you want to leave a lasting impression. Ask intelligent questions and pay close attention to the conversation.
When you speak with them, keep the interview short and don’t monopolize their time and attention. Your meeting is likely going to be a short conversation over lunch or between other meetings, so when you do have the opportunity to speak with the officer, make the most of it.
After your interview, don’t forget to follow up. Send a thank you note or add them as a LinkedIn contact. This will show that you took your conversation seriously and wish to continue the professional relationship into the future.
How Chameleon Resumes Can Help
Here at Chameleon Resumes, we offer three different paid packages that can help you with your interview preparation and networking goals. In our Get Hired package, we offer LinkedIn outreach coaching sessions to help you land that exploratory interview that you’ve been wanting. In our premium Get Reinvented package, we offer career directional coaching calls, LinkedIn Outreach coaching sessions, strategy meetings with an interview coach, and more. With our help, you’re almost guaranteed to ace any interview coming your way.
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