Wednesday Buzz: Make the Most of an Informational Interview

Advice for how to turn an informational interview into something more than just a cup of coffee. Also: suggestions on the approach you should take with your online community.

Sometimes, the best interview is one in which a job isn’t on the table at all—at least, not at the moment.

The informational interview—a conversation with someone whose industry you’d like to break into—is a good strategy for setting up future steps in the process. It brings your name to the attention of a person who might be able to help you in your career, and it shows that you’re being proactive by getting the conversation going in the first place.

Nonprofit blogger Colleen Dilenschneider offers several tips on how to make this approach work for you, along with pitfalls to avoid. For one thing, it’s important for you to make the conversation worth the time the other person is devoting to it—by, simply put, being interesting.

“It’s much easier to invest one’s time to help someone else if the beneficiary of this investment is able to contribute something valuable to the conversation,” she writes on her Know Your Own Bone site. “Let the potential interviewee see how meeting with you might also be useful to them.”

Have any strategies you’d like to share? Offer your wisdom in the comments below.

Go With Proven Ideas

Figuring out the right online community approach for your association isn’t always easy, but a few strategies work pretty consistently. Joshua Paul, director of marketing and strategy at online community software provider Socious, breaks down the options on the company’s blog, explaining the benefits of each (as well as the one approach he doesn’t recommend). How open should your community be? Who should participate? And how much should you play up the advocacy element?

Paul suggests that the right approach may not be to focus on one type of audience but on a mixture of association members and the public.

“Associations don’t have to select only one of these private online community strategies,” he writes. “Many organizations start with one audience or approach and then expand their community to include other strategies.” (ht @SociousSuccess)

Other Links of Note

Trying to cut your event budget? For advice with a Halloween theme, this BusyEvent blog post should do the trick.

Building an office that encourages creativity doesn’t require massive innovations or a complete rethinking of your space. Writing for Fast Company, Bradford Group CEO Jeff Bradford lays out a few more basic ideas.

Signs we’re living in the future: There’s an app coming out that can solve math problems embedded inside photos.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a senior editor for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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