An informational interview is an opportunity to learn directly from an expert in your area of interest. Most informational interviews are 15-20 minutes in length. The benefit of an informational interview is you schedule it so you can select the professionals you want to speak with and you get to ask the questions.
Areas of focus
- A career path/specialty
- A market
- Reviewing your CV or Resume
- A specific organization
How to schedule an informational interview
- Call or email the individuals
- Ask for a 15-20 minute informational interview
- Tell them why you chose them and what you want to focus on
- Ideally offer to buy them coffee of lunch
- Let them choose whether they would like to meet in their office or somewhere else that is convenient for them
Preparing for the informational interview
Choose three–five questions that you hope to ask in the interview to learn more about your area of interest with the person you are meeting with.
During the informational interview
While you get to ask the questions you should keep in mind this person is doing you a favor and works in a market segment of interest to you.
- Keep track of the time and when you reach the agreed on time let them know and offer to end the meeting.
- Do not in any way ask for a job
- Do ask for who else they would recommend you talk to and ask if you can use their name.
After the interview
- Send a thank you note within 24 hours
- Ask to join their network on LinkedIn
- Keep the person up to date on your progress and any steps you took based on your meeting (e.g. contacts or classes)
One of the benefits of an informational interview is that because there is no job involved in the conversation people are often more open to sharing their experiences, keep this in mind when you develop your list of questions. It is still important to remain professional.
- How did you get your position or establish your practice?
- What advice do you have for someone who is currently in my position who aspires to do the work you are doing?
- What are the challenges of your work?
- What are the biggest rewards?
- How did you develop the business skills to succeed?
- What are the challenges of practicing in your state? What is the scope of work?