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  • October 28, 2014 09:05 AM
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HOW TO HANDLE THE "COFFEE INTERVIEW"

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For those seeking an "informational" meeting, the cardinal rule to follow if you’re goal is to obtain a meeting with someone who is not necessarily hiring anyone is this, do NOT give the impression that you are secretly hoping to turn this meeting into either an information grab or a formal interview. Doing so will squash your chances of getting a more serious meeting! Instead, be direct, but say either, "Sally Smith (mutual contact) keeps urging me to meet you; Sally says that we have lots in common and will definitely enjoy meeting” OR, if you are a student, "Sally Smith has been giving me amazing adviceabout my job/internship search, and she keeps urging me to meet you as she knows that your perspective will be invaluable. I would so appreciate if you could carve out a bit of time for a cup of coffee to meet with me.” In both instances, a short personal summary is much better than a resume, since you are "not" seeking an interview!

 



Once you secure your informational meeting, be prepared to present this personal summary or narrative, as I like to call it, about yourself right away, briefly and conversationally. Then, indicate that you are prepared to listen and absorb as much as you can about the insights the person you are meeting with can share, and ask questions about their career trajectory and current workplace. Take notes. Come up with some additional questions or responses to what you are told. And perhaps most importantly, make sure to send an email, or even better, a hard copy thank you note later the same day, and endeavor to include something insightful that you learned from your meeting with this person. This follow up will keep you more "top of mind” should any opportunities suddenly present themselves that they can recommend – or even hire you – for.

 

 

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