Want to network? Try a “curiosity conversation” instead of an information interview
When folks ask about networking, the topic of informational interviews often come up. For those that aren’t familiar with informational interviews they are informal meetings with those in jobs you want and asking them questions about their career path and a day-in-the-life of their job. Unfortunately, these conversations tend to have an associated ulterior motive of trying to show yourself in such a light as to get a job (i.e. peppered with “that’s great, and this is how I have demonstrated team leadership in my previous roles…”).
We’d like to take the pretense of getting a job out of the picture and turn people towards making authentic connections and being interested in the people they are connecting with. We believe that re-branding information interviews to “curiosity conversations” will help. With a “curiosity conversation” the interest lies in the journey and career path. Finding more and more about the person, why they ended up making the decisions they did. And most importantly leaving the thought of a job opportunity as a very distant after thought.
With a “curiosity conversation” you are trying to make connections and build a relationship. Make it more about them versus you.
As an example, some of the questions I am always curious to ask are (some are of course dependant on where the conversation came from):
- Why did you pick your degree? what was it that compelled you in that direction?
- Was the decision influenced by family? friends? the market? your interests? other?
- Knowing what you know now, would you have made the same choice? what choices would you have done differently?
- What excites you about what you do? what do you look forward to the most?
- What of your day could you do without?
- What are your thoughts on the market when you started versus now? versus the future?
- Tell me more about that…
Whatever questions you decide to ask, try to be authentically curious and hopefully that curiosity will help you out in your decisioning or find out what you have in common to make that connection. And I’m sure there are a plethora of other questions to ask. Also, be be sure to answer those that are asked of you as well.
And lastly, if you’re asking them out, and they’ve been gracious enough with their time to share their story, always, always, I repeat always, be the one to treat!
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