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Informal interviews are simply interviews with an employee who has a job that you desire or has a position in a company that you want to work for. It is a big part of the job search process because it allows you to familiarise yourself with the position by hearing it from someone who has knowledge of it first-hand. There are three benefits to informal interviews-- first, as mentioned above, you gain knowledge about the position that will help you decide whether or not the job is suited for you; second, you become aware of the trajectory of how a particular person landed her job; and third, you build a relationship with someone who may eventually help you get a job in the position or company.
For a job seeker, there are various benefits to doing an informal interview. You may know someone in your network who has a position in a particular company that you are interested in. Open the possibility of an informal interview by contacting him on the phone. Let him know who you are and your job search status, and ask if he would be willing to meet with you to answer a few questions about the position or company you are doing research on.
Prepare a list of questions, as well as a speech about yourself so that the interviewee may learn more about you. Also, be sure to bring a formal resume with you to give the interviewee at the end of the interview. Although the interviewee may not be a recruiter and she can't offer you a position directly, ask that she forward your resume to the appropriate department.
After the Interview
Thank the interviewee for taking time out of her busy schedule to meet you and answer your questions.
Next, mail a thank you card or e-mail, as a way to show your appreciation. After you are done demonstrating the necessary etiquette, compile the materials you have gathered from the interview. Use these for reference if you receive a real interview in the future.