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The informational interview can be particularly useful for the immigrant job hunter and for those on Pilot Trips. It involves gathering information from people in the field, about the field.
You should approach the information interview only after you have used other more conventional sources of information. Get in touch with a professional union or association and get information about job requirements. You should already be well informed about the agency and field, so you can make use of the time for information you can't get elsewhere.
Locate someone with a job you would like to have, someone successful in an area you're interested in. Respectfully ask that person for a limited amount of time - 15 minutes or a half-hour - to ask a few questions, to gather information. Make it clear that you are not asking for a job. You only want information. This will help you learn about the company or agency, about career paths, and where the jobs are.
Questions should be clear, well defined, but open-ended. Avoid yes or no questions. Aim for a lower-echelon person and climb from there as you gather more information. Define for yourself the information you need and prepare your questions.
The following are sample questions you may want to ask fellow professionals or potential employers in Israel regarding your professional opportunities:
1. Job Trends - Where are the jobs? Is the market glutted? Is there room for advancement? How did the person you are speaking with get his/her job?
2. Salary Range, Benefits - Is it necessary to supplement the salary? What are the differences between private enterprise and government salaries, etc.?
3. Certification and Licensing Requirements - This is a critical area for many professions. What diplomas, records, transcripts, letters, etc. are necessary to bring along and submit? Will you need to do an internship or apprenticeship before being licensed? Can you fulfill certain requirements abroad before making aliyah that will make your professional recognition here go more smoothly?
Certification affects more than the possibility of work. It also determines salary levels and status at your place of work.
4. How much Hebrew do you need to know? Can you begin work right away or should you attend ulpan first?
5. How does one's profession compare with the US or Canada? What are the difficulties in adjusting professionally? What are the professional satisfactions? Can one boost one's professional credentials abroad before aliyah to improve one's chances of success?
6. Should you consider related fields or retraining?
7. Suggestions for other people or companies to contact for additional information or follow-up sessions.
1. Please tell me about your daily work routine.
2. What is your job title?
3. In what department do you work? How does this fit into the organization? What are related career paths and related departments?
4. What is your working environment like?
5. How much Hebrew do you need to know?
6. What skills are needed to enjoy this work and to be successful in it?
7. How closely do you work with others?
8. What kinds of emotional demands are made on you by carrying out your duties?
9. What kinds of decisions does someone in your position have to make?
10. What effect does your work have on your personal life?
11. What do you like most/least about your job? Is it hard? Easy?
12. How do you keep up-to-date with what is going on in your field? Can you recommend trade journals? Professional journals? Books? Publications? Courses?
13. Could you give me a rough idea of salary levels in this field (or company level, etc.) at present?
14. I'd like to share my resume with you and ask you what steps you'd recommend I take in order to advance myself in this line of work.
15. Who else would you suggest I talk to who might be able to give me more information about this kind of work?
16. May I use your name in contacting them?
17. May I contact you in another month if I have anymore questions?
18. What qualities do you look for in an employee?
Published courtesy AACI
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