The Power of a Cup of Coffee

10 September 2019

Are you curious about starting a new role, switching fields, or working for a different company, but aren’t quite sure if it’s the right fit? If so, an informational interview over a cup of coffee might be the right opportunity for you!

But who do you approach about an interview and what’s the importance of it being over a cup of coffee? Read the questions and matching answers below to find out!
 
  1.  Why request an informational interview?
If you are uncertain about pursuing a career or taking a job with a company and want more information, requesting an informational interview is a great start. These types of interviews allow for no-strings-attached conversations between a job seeker and a working professional.
 
  1.  Who should the interview be with?
The interview should be between yourself and a working professional. The working professional should be someone who works with your prospective company (possibly the prospective supervisor), holds a role in a position that you hope to secure, and/or is an established professional in the industry. Individuals in these roles will often be more equipped to handle any questions you may have due to their first-hand experiences.
 
  1.  Why should the interview be over coffee?
There are several reasons why informational interviews conducted over a cup of coffee are effective. First, working professionals are often very busy and have little time to meet. Therefore, professionals will be more incentivized to attend an informational interview if it is at the same time as their breaks, to minimize time away from work. Furthermore, grabbing a cup of coffee is naturally informal. This leads people to feel less stressed and anxious as opposed to formal interviews in offices. Moreover, holding a cup of coffee gives your hands something to do, preventing you from fidgeting. And coffee gives us energy, which leads to more talking and therefore deeper conversations!
 
  1.  How do you reach out to a working professional?
To contact a working professional, simply send them an email. To retrieve their email, check the company website or lookup their LinkedIn profile. Emails should be short and to the point with a specific request. They should provide an exact time frame regarding the length of the meeting, as well as a location that is convenient for the working professional.
 
  1.   How do you prepare for the interview?
To ensure that benefits from the interview are maximized, you should research the professional, the company they work for, as well as create a list of potential interview questions. In brief, everything learned from the interview should be information that could not be located online.
 
The following questions serve as samples as to what could be asked in an interview:
  • What skills are important for this role?
  • How would you describe the company culture?
  • What was your inspiration to enter the field of ___?
  • How can I differentiate myself from others in the field? 
  1.  How do you follow-up after an interview?
Very Important – Within 24 hours of completing the interview, it is good form to send a follow-up email to the interviewee, thanking them for their time and advice. This will further help you build a relationship with the individual.
 
Learn more by visiting the Power Up Your Job Search  page.