Today’s networking scene isn’t what you’d expect or want it to be.  The average lifespan of an active job is two weeks, if that.  So then why is it that employers, except recruiters, and seasoned professionals want you to build long-term repertoire?  The real question is why is it so hard to build repertoire with seasoned professionals, employers, and peers in the same industry?  Well, the traditional networking is often a bi-product of commitments that business folk honor due to company obligations, professional development, and personal branding.

The average networking professional considers one-on- one personal networking engagement to be reflective of their mood after a long day of work and the assumption that undeserving people want to hoard them for jobs; namely: no real motive to desire to network beyond the pleasantries and the assumption that everybody is selling their personal brand and disingenuous to some degree and a fear of being exploited.  For years, I often found this and still to be the case in formal networking…very sadly.  By leaps and bounds the informational interview doesn’t impose itself to be a formal obligation, unlike the former, and it leaves your potential employer, industry SME, or that admired business guru the choice to engage without feeling obligated; namely: to not give a qualified answer that leaves you disappointed or assuming people just don’t care.

Why is it a Networking Game Changer?

As previously mentioned, there isn’t an obligation for your intended individual to commit to the informational interview. Just this choice alone makes them easier and automatically ten fold open to engaging without being augmented through persuasion. If that potential CEO, business guru, industry contemporary, or SME says “Yes” it means they value you taking the courage to cold call or track them down to gauge their interest. The is a huge plus point with many professionals as you are taking the courage to put yourself out there, learn what it takes to succeed in a craft while acknowledging boundaries; as follows: showing that you value there expertise more so then trying to extract immediate benefit. The informational interview is also not confined to being a “Let’s meet to coffee”. This is the usual assumption many make and often turns it down for this reason; it is easy to do over the phone or over the web like Skype, Zoom etcetera. It’s less intrusive on people’s time or a favor. They consider it to be less of a favor and more of an honor to impart and share keys to succeed and overcome your hurdles, which they as seasoned professionals have experienced; namely: liberals mountains of hurdles just to be chatting with you.

What is the Benefit for a Jobseeker?

Here’s what I found in an informational interview setting, there is little room to make assumptions or judge each other on the “first impressions will be my everlasting impressions of you” notion. In the absence of face to face encounters, the distance afforded by a phone call or web video interface like Skype or Zoom allows two professionals, particularly the one being interviewed, to be professional vulnerable while still confident; namely: engage without reservations of being judged or overtly self-aware like in a public setting. It allows you to get to know each other as people first, which is super powerful, and forces you to engage on a deeper level by understanding each other’s expertise, and why you as the job seeker are genuinely approaching this otherwise elusive SME. These non- physical mediums force two people to bring there real personalities to the front, put there best foot forward, and the environment allows for jobseekers to share there experiences without being harshly critiqued. The best part is often this leads to natural, organic, and genuine conversations where the seasoned professional within 15 min is likely to have a very good idea of the type of person you are. Being genuine as a job seekers by taking initiative and grinded your way will earn you respect. SME’s will most likely or possibly offer to help before the conversation is even over; namely: from their own desire and respect people who don’t have things given easy to them.

What was my Informational Interview Experience Like?

Firstly, it was always with seasoned leading female and sometimes male professionals who valued me taking the courage to cold call; namely: over 40 yrs. in age. Its one thing to approach someone when they expect it in a networking session while fully knowing they don’t really intend to network; It’s another thing to approach a SME, a complete stranger, have the self-confidence to face a potential “No” and showcase bravery and a strong desire to

pave my own career. Before we began deep diving into an SME’s background, they would genuinely be interested in asking “So Moeed, I genuinely want to know about you!!” Usually, in one-on one- networking, people wouldn’t be very interested and the conversation would be transactional mostly and very cold. As more seasoned human beings, my interviewed demographic were often married people or seasoned professionals who were self-actualized and had overcome many hurdles themselves, which is why they took a genuine interest in my hurdles. As a result, my go getting attitude was valued. Moreover, this was enough to earn their approval and they didn’t need me to excessively prove my before desiring to help or giving me a referral; namely: they knew how rough their own professional struggles were and were deeply humbled to help someone they could relate to. Often, I had coaches and seasoned professional become allies who wanted to put me forward for role but there junior or others were the one’s hiring. For many of them, they wish they had the power to hire me and tried there best to get me to the hiring table despite knowing I bring far more than what my resume says I have done; namely: hiring managers weren’t fully aware of the talent nor fully able to gauge without conversing with me.