Last month’s two-hour Social Media Job Search strategy workshop was so much fun! We had five excellent people come with open minds and a strong desire to learn some great job search tools. We met at the Umpqua Bank’s south waterfront district, which couldn’t have been a better location. Free coffee. Great view of the river … and most importantly, the meeting space was perfect.

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First, I gave a little background on why learning these modern relationship building tools is so important in today’s job market. Then we discussed LinkedIn, and how we might use it to actually get info-interviews from past and new employers.

Why would we want info-interviews rather than job-interviews?

Glad you asked. In order to stand out from the stack of hundreds of other résumés on a hiring manager’s desk (yes, that is the sad reality), we have to truly and powerfully add value and convince the manager that we are a good fit.

Most job seekers spend most of their time on the least important question — can you do the job? Well, that is either answered on a paper résumé or solved during OJT (On the Job Training). The remaining question of Do I Like You? (read: can I stand to work with you) isn’t so easy to answer and is the cause of MOST of the stress for a company during hiring.

Solve the issue of your likeability, reduce their sense of risk = stand out from the crowd.

Easy. Right?

Well, not really. And the reason is that you need to know as much as possible about the company’s culture, problems, strengths, recent wins, CRM issues, big customers etc. And guess who wants to brag about all of this?

New Hires: because they may just be so proud of their new jobs that they are just bursting at the seams to talk to someone who “isn’t at their level” yet.

Ex-employees: because there is no more pretense. Just an open kimono. They will tell you the truth about every little skeleton in the closet. If you can still stand your target company after that conversation, you will be WAY more convincing during an interview.

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Remember, info-interview to get information about your “fit” before you begin asking for job-interviews. You’ll be glad you did!

What do you think? Do you have a story about when you might have benefited from some info-interviews first?