The Company Interviewing Technique

Instead of lying your way into a company by saying you are "informational interviewing," be honest and let them know you want to work for them. Then seek out a person who is willing to be interviewed in a "company interview," that is, an interview where you interview that person about their company. This does not have to be a formal interview setting; in fact, it does not even have to be face to face—over the phone is usually sufficient. The key is to choose your potential interviewee wisely. They should not be a potential Hiring Manager, and not someone in Human Resources. Ideally, they should be a contact you have generated through your personal network, someone who has a personal desire to help you. Your "network" is your personal connection with others who can help you in your job search. And also those whom you can help with their job search. Networking is all about helping others. The subject of networking will be fully covered later in the Network Intelligence Gathering chapter. Next best option is a member of a professional association of which you are a student member.

The key questions you should be asking are:

"What type of person does your company typically hire?"

"What is the hiring process and who is involved?"

In addition, ask your contact questions about why they joined the company, why it is a good company to work for, and what the company culture is like. You need to be careful in asking your questions so that you are not asking the person to give out "Confidential" or "Internal Use Only" information. For example, it would be inappropriate to ask for a company phone directory or a copy of internal correspondence. But if you build a rapport with this person, you can usually get not only the broad overview of the company, but also the basic information identifying the specific steps taken in the internal interview process. Then you will be prepared to proceed through those steps with advance information already in hand.