Definition

Informational interviews are interactive info-sessions with professionals across different industries aimed at learning more about your desired profession. In this setting, you can inquire about potential avenues you would like to pursue while practicing in a low-pressure environment.

Benefits

An informational interview is important because you can learn about an industry beyond the accessibility the internet provides. You will be able to stand out and forge connections with someone within the industry. Occasionally, this can lead to knowledge of “hidden” jobs, all found through networking and informational interviewing. Although it does not automatically grant you access to these jobs, informational interviewing might be a great start to putting your foot in.

How To

Check out this Career Center PDF Guide or follow the steps below. 

1. Seek and request

Find new contacts by inquiring within people in your network and ask for references. Research these references and add them on LinkedIn. A simple search of professionals in your desired industry across different platforms could be the beginning of establishing a line of communication. Establish contact with the person you want to interview. Introduce yourself through email or a LinkedIn message. Set up a 15 to 30-minute call. Be sure to explain that the meeting is solely for informational purposes.

2. Prepare

To make the most of your interview, it is imperative that you prepare in advance. First, you should thoroughly research the individual and their employer. Establish credibility by assembling questions guided from your research, but also about your interests. We suggest coming up with them by yourself. A question that can easily be answered by Google or the company website is not something you want to ask. For the conversation to be natural and to flow, be prepared to answer questions about yourself and your ambitions. Remember, this interview serves to gain information but also to establish a personal connection.

3. Interviewing time!

Once in the interview, keep it concise. You should be able to introduce yourself with a brief summary and an overview of the information you are seeking. If applicable, ensure to weave in details about your work history. The person you are interviewing might be busy. You should be able to get in and out with the questions you have assembled from your research. Use this opportunity to create supporters and allies. They can become a part of your network. Ask for recommendations of other people to reach out for informational interviews.

4. Follow up and track

It is always good to follow up with a thank you note or email after the interview. In this email, remind them you would love to hear about new information or opportunities that resonate with your interests. Leave room for future communication. Keep track of who you interview for future reference and networking opportunities.