September 17, 2021

CareerAdvantage Fall 2021

Informational Interviews for Environmental Health & Safety Professionals

By Bill Pockels

Informational interviews are brief meetings between people who want to investigate a career and people working in that career. These interviews usually last 20 to 30 minutes. Their purpose is not to get a job, but to find out about jobs you might like. In the Environmental & Occupational Health & Safety (EOHS) profession, they are a great networking tool and an opportunity to learn more about the field. They can be informal conversations or arranged as an appointment with a busy professional. They are useful for:

  1. Learning more about the realities of working in the EOHS profession.
  2. Deciding among different specialties (e.g., safety or industrial hygiene).
  3. Focusing your career on your goals.
  4. Discovering EOHS careers you never knew existed.
  5. Uncovering your professional strengths and weakness.
  6. Finding different ways to prepare for your career.
  7. Gathering ideas for volunteer, seasonal, part-time, and internship opportunities related to the EOHS field.

Informational interviews also provide an inside look at an organization you may want to work for in the future. And these interviews aid in polishing communication skills, helping jobseekers gain confidence and poise before the high-pressure situation of a job interview.

Generally, there are five steps for informational interviews:

  1. Identify People to Interview. Organizations like AIHA can help identify EOHS professionals willing to grant informational interviews.
  2. Prepare for the Interview. Prepare for this interview like you would for any job interview.
  3. Initiate Contact. Call, email, or write a letter to make an appointment.
  4. Conduct the Informational Interview. Never ask for a job during this type of interview.
  5. Follow-Up. Send a thank-you note by email and US mail.

For more details on informational interviews, please see the following references:

References:

  1. Informational interviewing: Get the inside scoop on careers
  2. Informational Interviewing
  3. Career Exploration and Success Career & Internship Guide
  4. The Ultimate Guide to an Informational Interview
  5. Informational Interviewing
  6. Informational Interviewing is Key to Your Job Search
  7. When, How and Why to Conduct Informational Interviews
  8. Informational Interviewing
  9. Informational Interview
  10. How to Explore Careers & Find A Job By Talking to People
  11. Mastering the Informational Interview
  12. My Pet Peeves About Informational Interviews
  13. How an Informational Interview Can Boost Your Career
  14. The Ultimate Guide to an Informational Interview

Your Dream Job Is Out There

Online recruitment continues to gain support from organizations looking for top talent. Over the last two years, companies have spent thousands of dollars raising brand awareness to attract more interested job seekers, like you, to fill their open positions.

What this means for you:

1. Talent Pools - companies are creating and maintaining talent pools for future job openings so keep your resume up to date and check your job seeker account often. You never know when an opportunity might open.

2. Soft Skills - recruiters increasingly rely on technology for seeking candidates with specific skill sets and experience. They are finding soft skills can transfer across functions, so be open to offers outside your current job title.

3. Career Fairs - as onsite events have moved to virtual platforms, we are increasingly able to carve out time for networking and interviewing online. Attend as many online career fairs as your schedule allows and remember your dream job is out there!

Visit AIHA's CareerAdvantage center for more help, advice, and job postings.