5 Ways to Break the Ice With an Informational Interview. Whether you’re new to the job search or need a refresher, it’s nearly impossible not to feel insecure during an interview. Even someone as confident and poised as Oprah has admitted feeling nervous before an interview. But remember: The sooner you break the ice, the less chance your interviewer will see your inner anxieties. That means you’ll have more opportunities to answer questions confidently—and get that offer in return! Read on for five ways you can break the ice with an informational interview.
Have a conversation starter
Most job interviews begin with a conversation about the company. This is an excellent time to ask about the company culture, the benefits offered to employees, and the people who work there. These questions will help you better prepare for your conversation with the hiring manager. It’s easy for the exchange to shift from about your future employer to about your own experience or qualifications. You can avoid this by having an opener that starts with a question about the company. For example, ask: “What’s your company’s core value?” or “What’s the best thing about working at your company?”
Ask about the company before you ask about the job.
This is so important; it’s a conversation starter! If you’re interviewing with a company with both a human resource and hiring manager, you’ll want to start the conversation with a question about the company. Before you even mention the job, ask the person who invited you to the interview: “What was the reason you invited me here?” You can use this question to explore the company culture, learn about the job’s benefits, and learn more about the people who work there.
Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and shake hands
Even if you’ve worked for the same company for years, you need to be on your best behavior every time you meet with the hiring manager. Be sure to greet the person and shake their hand. Make eye contact when you shake hands, and make sure your body language is strong and confident. Keep in mind that the person you’re meeting is a stranger when you shake hands, smile and make small talk. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the person, their job duties, or anything else that comes to mind. You can even ask the person if they would mind if you took notes while you’re meeting.
Show your enthusiasm for the job opportunity
Every job interview is an opportunity to show the hiring manager why they should hire you. And the best way to do this is to show your enthusiasm for the job opportunity—Research the company, the job duties, and the people who work there. Talk to people who have worked at the company before you meet with the hiring manager. You can even search for “company reputation” or “reviews of the company.”
Keep asking questions until you leave
Keep your conversation with the person who invited you to the interview until you leave. Talk about other topics you can while you’re at the interview, and try to learn as much as you can about the company and the people there. As you’re talking with the person who invited you to interview, ask questions and learn more about the company and the people who work there. You can also request this person questions about what they hope to get from the meeting and his expectations for the job. By asking questions and showing your enthusiasm for the job opportunity, you’ll give the hiring manager a better impression of you. If you end the meeting on a high note—with a question, a compliment, or even a small donation—you’ll show the hiring manager that you care about the opportunity.
Informational Interview: Once you leave the interview, don’t forget to follow up with the person who invited you to the discussion. Send a handwritten thank-you note with your thoughts on the meeting and a formal job offer. The person who invited you to the interview will appreciate this follow-up and show the hiring manager that you mean business.