Gathering Intelligence: Six tips for informational interviews

In your job search, as in most things, more information is better than less. If you’re looking to break into a new filed or industry, or thinking of changing careers, or looking for the same kind of work you did before, but you’re in a new market, one of the best tools in your toolkit is going to be the informational interview. However, since an informational interview is basically meeting a stranger and asking them some questions, unless you’re a certain kind of person, this is not going to be easy for you. Here’s a little advice to help you get through it.

Soft Skills are Hard

They’re not hard, really. It’s just a term that recruiters and employers use for all the things that we do as social lubrication, so to speak. Since you’re very likely to be working with people when you work, soft skills are the skills you need to be able to get along. All are important, and some come easier to people than others do. Here are some of the soft skills you’ll need, not just at work, but in the rest of your life, too.

What to Bring to your Interview

We've gone over many of the things that you want to do in order to bring your A-game to the interview (see what I did there?), but what should you actually physically bring?

Tough Interview Questions

If you've gotten to the interview stage of the recruiting process, you've done well, but you're not in the clear. You still have to sit in the room with the people who are hiring, answer their questions, and impress them. And while the relationship isn't adversarial, there are still standard interview questions that are hard to answer.

Advice from Yoda

May the 4th be with you. It's Star Wars Day, and I'm kind of a nerd, so I thought maybe I'd share some advice from one of the most powerful Jedi ever, Yoda. Sure, he was a hermit, and he talked funny (fun fact: Frank Oz did the voice for both Yoda and Miss Piggy, which is why Yoda sounds like Miss Piggy with a chest cold), he was one of the weirdest Muppets ever, and he was small, but he was powerful and wise. And, as Yoda himself, said, "Size matters not."

Happy May Day

Today is May Day, or International Workers Day, and while the international labour movement's goals of seizing the means of production and liberating the proletariat have not yet been fully realized, we have made great strides in protecting workers in Canada and elsewhere. So, in honour of International Workers' Day, here is a rundown of your rights in Ontario as an employee.

What we have here is a failure to communicate.

The purpose of language is to communicate, not to obfuscate. For you, that means that the language you use when you speak or write should be as clear as possible. Using big words when simple ones will do (please note that I linked to a definition of "obfuscate" above), and using jargon or buzzwords may actually have the opposite effect to the one intended.

You Can't Hide

I'm sure you've been told many times to be careful what you post on social media. "It's public," we're told, "Who knows who'll see it? A future employer? Do you really want you future boss to see your selfies?"

Happy Birthday!

You may have heard that it's been 150 years since Confederation. This is a pretty good opportunity to get to know the country you call home, especially if you're kind of new here. Here's a short list of ways you can explore and learn Canada.

Dress for Success

For some people, they never have to think about what they're going to wear to work. These fortunates souls have uniforms (police officers or letter carriers, for instance, or the people serving you at most chain restuarants). Others (the extremely fortunate), work from home, so they don't even have to get out of their pyjamas if they don't want to. The rest of us have some decisions to make.