Six Steps for Informational Interviewing

June 15, 2016

Is there a career field you are curious about? Is there a specialty in your field of study that you’d like to get more information on? Then an informational interview may be the answer!

An informational interview is an informal conversation with someone working in an area that interests you, who will give you information and advice. It is not a job interview, and the objective is not to find job openings. It is simply a way to gain more information on a career field.

You may feel awkward making arrangements to talk with people you don’t know about their work. However, most people actually enjoy taking a few moments out of their day to reflect on their professional life and give advice to someone with an interest in their field.

Information Interview

  1. Research Career Fields
  • This is where you do your homework on career fields and businesses that interest you.
  • Is there a specialty that interests you in your field of study? Research it!
  1. Identify people to interview
  • Think about people you already know. Even if they aren’t in the field, they may know someone who is! This can include family, friends, or your instructors.
  • Call businesses that are of interest and ask if you can come in and speak to them.
  1. Prepare for the interview
  • Prepare an overview of yourself. This should include why you are contacting the company as a way to introduce yourself.
  • Plan open-ended questions to ask the person you are interviewing.
  1. Initiate contact
  • Contact the person by phone or email and let them know how you got their name. Ask if it is a good time to talk.
  • Make it clear that you are only looking for information, not a job.
  • Ask the person if there is a time that you can meet face-to-face for 20-30 minutes.
  1. Conduct the informational interview
  • Dress professionally like you would for your typical job interview.
  • Make it clear that you are just looking to get information, not a job.
  • Give a brief overview of yourself, your education, and your skills.
  • Be prepared to lead the interview but also let the conversation flow naturally.
  1. Follow-up
  • Send a thank you note within 1-2 days to express your appreciation for the time and information given.

If you are interested in doing informational interviews, come see us in Career Services on how to get started!