Getting a retail job: the informational interview
If you are searching for retail work in the UK, an informational interview is a unique and very powerful exercise which could be extremely beneficial to your job search.
How it helps
During an informational interview, you will be required to speak to as many people as possible about your chosen retail career. This enables you to find out more information about a company, its culture and values.
The informational interview will help you identify and prepare for key future positions on your preferred career path, be these retail manager jobs or entry level and temporary work. It can help you:
- Decide which future retail career paths do and do not meet your personal career plan
- Define what specific competencies are most critical for achieving your career aspirations
- Investigate how different, successful people have developed their skills in retail jobs
- Identify what strengths will make you marketable on your preferred career path
- Start building visibility and a network of contacts in your chosen field
Candidates often resist the idea of asking people currently employed in retail jobs to spend an hour or more discussing career issues, fearing they will respond negatively. However, we find that when candidates do choose to try the informational interview, many people they approach are receptive to the idea; in fact, they often take the request as a complement, as it is an acknowledgement that they have succeeded in their career.
If you want to get the most out of the informational interview, it is best to plan ahead. Think through what is important to you in your career and the kind of company culture or specific retail job that meets your values and needs. If you have done some self-assessment exercises, return to your findings and structure your questions around your personal needs. Design a questionnaire and take this with you to the meeting. Use it to remind you of the kind of information you want to obtain and transcribe your findings.
The Informational Interview process should be focused, relaxed and non-threatening. Follow this format to get the most of the meeting:
- Introduction: state your objective and establish rapport.
- Job content: talk through what results are expected, relationships, key decisions, communications required, future growth possibilities.
- Important Qualifications: what skills, competencies, experiences and training are required?
- Key Events: what has the interviewee achieved and where have they failed?
- Closure: thank the interviewee and quickly run through what you have learnt from the meeting.
Don't forget to thank the individual after the meeting, via e-mail or telephone, and keep them informed on how your search for retail jobs is going.
For more information on finding retail jobs in London, Manchester or the UK in general, or to seek advice on advancing your retail career, contact the team at Detail2Retail today on 0845 274 3444 or submit your CV and one of our retail recruitment specialists will get back to you.