How Does an Informational Interview Work?


There is no dearth of literature available for getting career related information. There are books, trade publications and online resources to get information about the career you aspire to pursue. However, the potential of informational interviews in this regard is second to none. Informational interviewing offers jobseekers, career changers and students to receive first hand information about careers they have interest in. Through these interviews, candidates can get a real insider view about careers and use that essential information for career success.

Setting up the informational interview
First and foremost, candidates need to set up the interviewing. Setting up means you have to find potential and influential people who can provide you a first hand knowledge about specific careers, industries or jobs. To identify such people, you can use the entire network of contacts including your family, friends, colleagues, classmates etc. Once you have prepared the list of such people, you can send them an introductory email stating your interests, career goals and background. Informational interviews can be conducted over phone, lunch or in person. A face to face informational interview is the most advisable way of getting first-hand career information and having a feel about the job or career you are interested in.

Preparing for the informational interview
Advanced preparation is key to becoming successful at informational interviewing. Before you speak to the interview, you need to make sure that you have researched on the whereabouts of their company and the industry they cater to. You can also log on to their company’s website to do some advanced preparation for asking questions. If you want to get information on a specific career, you need to prepare asking questions like where they started, how they made the most of their jobs, what the job description and how they plan to remain competitive in that particular occupation.

Conducting the informational interview
Consider your informational interviewing no less important than a business meeting. You need to attire yourself in formal clothes and act professional as well. Ask the interviewee whether they would mind taking notes during the interview. Maintain your eye contact and listen to the professional attentively. Try to build a natural rapport during the talk to maintain relationship with the interviewee. Also ask them about some references that can provide first hand career information.

Establishing the relationship
Building a relationship with your interviewee is one of the most important parts of the entire process. Therefore, don’t forget to follow them up. After the end of the informational interview, send them a thank you note or an email expressing your gratitude for the opportunity they gave you. With the passage of time, keep them informed of you career developments. This is a wonderful way of building a long term relationship with industry professionals. You never know when they might be able to help you again in the near future.

By using the above mentioned tips, you can definitely extract the maximum of your professional meetings. Use this effective tool to expand your contacts in an industry and achieve career success.

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