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What Is an Exploratory Interview?

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Calling to speak with the hiring manager of a company can be a nerve-wracking experience. However, if you know what you want, you are more likely to get what you want, which is why exploratory interviews are so important for job applicants. An exploratory interview allows you to collect information and figure out what you want from potential employers.


It benefits an applicant to screen potential employers for employment, especially if a company appears to be a potential match creatively and professionally. The objective of an exploratory interview is to find a position or learn about a particular career field. Keep in mind that in most cases, no positions will be available. It’s up to you to make a lasting impression.


To set up an exploratory interview with a hiring manager or recruiter, you often must submit a cover letter and resume. Your cover letter must grab the hiring manager’s attention and demonstrate a clear history of your education, experience and training. Don’t assume the hiring manager will know you are requesting an exploratory interview, say it outright.


During an exploratory interview, ask a variety of questions pertaining to the company and the hiring manager, if applicable. Arrive early with your questions mapped out. Because you’re not being considered for a position that is currently available, ask about potential opportunities that may be available in the future. Remain courteous and stay positive throughout the interview. If you are successful, the hiring manager will call you in for a position in the near or distant future.


After an exploratory interview, send a formal letter or email thanking the recruiter for meeting with you to explore potential employment options with the company. Mail the letter within 24 hours of your interview date. If you meet with more than one person during the interview process, send a letter or email to each individual with whom you met.


Charlie Gaston has written numerous instructional articles on topics ranging from business to communications and estate planning. Gaston holds a bachelor's degree in international business and a master's degree in communications. She is fluent in Spanish and has extensive travel experience.

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