ClearRock’s president, Laura Poisson, shares how her informational interview led to her a job offer with the company. Check out this USA Today network interview with Laura.

Laura Poisson contacted Boston’s ClearRock Inc. ( for an informational interview in 2011. The company offers outplacement and assists job seekers in career transition. Two months later, she received an offer of vice president of client services and business development. In 2016 she became the owner and president, a position she retains.

Perhaps the least understood job-hunting vehicle, the informational interview benefits job seekers in a number of ways when used correctly. It can lead to referrals within a company or outside of it. It offers a good, low risk opportunity to practice self-promotion. Occasionally, it leads directly to a job, although such cases are rare.

What is an informational interview? Richard Bolles, author of the posthumously published “What Color Is Your Parachute? 2018″ (  (Ten Speed, $19.99), defines it as the process of “interviewing workers who are doing work a person . . . might be interested in doing . . . to discover if they are on the right track.” Poisson says that these interviews provide the opportunity for relationship-building while you do a little detective work.

You might be tempted to turn an informational interview into a job interview, but that’s a privilege best left to employers. Tad Mayer, Founder of Career Negotiations (career in Burlington, Massachusetts, where he’s a career coach, trainer and speaker, cautions that “the person you asked for the meeting may feel you pulling a ‘bait and switch’. … It will not exhibit integrity or build trust.”

Mayer continues that you risk appearing unfocused: “You came asking for information and are now fishing for an interview. It will be hard for him or her to be impressed (or to) refer you to an opportunity that s/he hears about in the future.”

Read more: