Today in Slate, associate editor L. V. Anderson, describes her own experiences with giving informational interviews and makes the case for why people in positions to make hiring decisions should NOT agree to take part in them. Her bottom line?
It’s anti-meritocratic. It’s impossible for everyone who’s searching for a job to land an informational interview with a helpful candidate…The people who get informational interviews—and the benefits they confer—tend to be people who have something in common with their target: a mutual friend, a family connection, an alma mater in common. Informational interviews are like unpaid internships and hiring for “cultural fit”—they encourage bosses to hire and promote people from the same background as their own, which effectively cuts off job opportunities for minorities. Put another way, informational interviews give a leg up to people who don’t need a leg up.
Anderson’s advice is disconcerting for anyone entering a daunting job market and, quite reasonably, seeking any “leg up” they can find (however much one wants to see the 21st Continue reading