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What is an Informational Interview and its Purposes?

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This may be one of the most effective networking strategies you haven’t heard of if you’re looking for work.

Hey, job seekers and those changing careers: It’s time to start asking for informational interviews if you’re serious about making contacts in a new field.

What is an Informational Interview?

A short, informal conversation that you organize with a relevant specialist is known as an informational interview. There are two main goals to achieve:

  1. Exploratory investigation
  2. Networking

An informational interview is a fantastic way to find out more about a position you’re aiming for, a business you’re interested in, or a chance you’re interested in pursuing. Now is the ideal moment to network and get career guidance.

An informal discussion with a professional in a field of work that interests you constitutes an informational interview. It is best completed following some initial web investigation. Finding job openings is not the goal because it is not a job interview.

Reaching out to someone you don’t know could feel awkward. However, the majority of people actually take pleasure in spending a little time out of their day to consider their professional lives and offer guidance to someone who is curious about their sector.

What is an Informational Interview
What is an Informational Interview?

Also Read: 15 Best Online Game Development Schools In the World

Purposes of Informational Interviews

Consider this: You want to make a significant change, but the only picture of your ideal career you have is one you have created in your mind.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to get a dose of realism from a seasoned professional in the industry—someone who could possibly be able to assist you in making connections to chances in the future?

Job searchers can gain from informational interviews in a variety of ways, particularly by:

  • Gaining first-hand knowledge of pertinent facts regarding the realities of working in a specific role, field, or business.
  • Discovering career paths you never knew existed.
  • Obtaining insider knowledge on how to prepare for and land your first job.
  • Find out what it’s like to work for a particular company.
  • Establish a professional connection, broaden your network of connections, and make new acquaintances who may one day help you find a job.

Yes, it can be a little uncomfortable to request a meeting with a complete stranger. However, in general, people enjoy sharing their stories and the lessons they’ve learned along the road. All you want is advice because it feels good to give it.

The most important professional tool is an informational interview. They enable you to receive comments about your background in a low-stress setting and improve your interviewing and industry expertise. Even better, you can hold them through phone or video conference. It’s the ideal method for networking.

How Should I Approach Informational Interview Requests?

Send the individual you’ve chosen to interview an email or a Linkedin message to request an interview after you’ve determined who would be useful to speak with.

  • Make contact with industry professionals you already know.
  • Look up mutual connections on LinkedIn and request introductions to the appropriate individuals.
  • Follow the LinkedIn profiles of the employers you want to work for, and use the “people” option to find people in positions you’re interested in.
  • Join Facebook and LinkedIn groups with members who share your interests and make contact with them.
  • If you attended college, search the alumni directory for professionals who would be glad to assist a fellow alum.

The message should be succinct, to the point, and clear. Just request a brief period of time; successful individuals have busy lives and might not have an hour to spare for you.

Example of an Informational Interview Request:

Greetings, Ms. Jones

Happy morning! Shannon McLain, one of our shared connections, suggested I get in touch with you. (Before I returned to school to earn my MBA, we worked together.)

I’d love to know more about what it’s like to work as a Data Scientist on a daily basis. I believe it is the proper professional choice for me, but I am unsure of the best way to present myself as a recent graduate. Would you be open to having a 15-minute conversation with me this week?

Also Read: 10 Online Jobs for College Students

How to Conduct an Informational Interview

1. Research the Career Paths

  • To discover more about the professional fields you are interested in, use online tools.

2. Select Potential Interview Subjects

  • Investigate your personal contacts, including those in your family, circle of friends, academics, and prior employers. People you already know can introduce you to people who work in fields that interest you, even if they don’t.
  • Look through directories of prestigious employers in significant urban regions.

3. Get Ready for the Interview

  • Create a succinct bio that describes who you are and your objectives for the meeting.
  • Create a list of open-ended questions.

4. Establish contact

  • Use LinkedIn or email to get in touch with the person.
  • Mention where you learned their name.
  • Make it clear that you’re seeking for information rather than a job.

5. Hold the Info-gathering Interview

  • Dress cleanly and suitably for the workplace you are investigating.
  • If you are meeting in person, be there on time or a little early.
  • Bring a list of questions, and if you like, take notes.
  • Reiterate that you are not looking for employment but rather information and advice.
  • Briefly describe your background in terms of your schooling and/or employment.
  • While you should be prepared to guide the interview, it should also flow spontaneously. Encourage the candidate to speak the majority of the time.
  • Observe the other person’s time. Keep the meeting within the allotted time.
  • Ask the individual whether you may get in touch with them again in the future with more inquiries.
  • Request the names of additional persons you can get in touch with to get more viewpoints.

You can bring your résumé, but don’t pull it out during the interview because your interviewer might believe you’re just looking for work. When the time is right, you might want to ask the individual for their opinion on it. But first, get to know them well.

What is an Informational Interview
What is an Informational Interview?

6. Follow Up

  • Observe records. Note what you discovered, what you still want to learn, and the actions you want to do after that.
  • Within a few of days, send a thank-you note to show your appreciation for the time and knowledge provided. This might be a quick handwritten note, an email, or a business letter depending on how casual or official the informative interview was.

If you interacted with someone exceptionally well, stay in touch with them and let them know you took their advise and the result into consideration. This individual might play a significant role in expanding your network.

This is how you begin creating a robust industry-wide network of connected individuals. And you’ll be able to claim, “Your colleague sent me!” when you get in touch with your new contact to ask for an informational interview.

What is an Informational Interview
What is an Informational Interview?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Informational Interview?

An informal discussion with a professional in a field of work that interests you constitutes an informational interview. It is best completed following some initial web investigation. Finding job openings is not the goal because it is not a job interview.

What is the other name for Informational Interview?

An informative interview, also known as a Networking Interview, is a discussion you set up with a person who works for a company or who has a position that interests you.

What happens in an informational interview’s initial step?

By phone or email, get in touch with the person and explain how you got their name. If there is a good time to talk, inquire. Make it obvious that you're not looking for employment, just information. Ask the person if you can meet them in person for 20 to 30 minutes at a specific time.

What makes informational interviews crucial?

Building your network and learning more about a profession that interests you can both be accomplished through informational interviews. You will speak with a professional in your chosen job field during an informative interview to learn more about potential career routes, industries, and/or organizations.

To Sum Up:

  • An effective professional tool for networking and job exploration is the informational interview.
  • Requests should be brief and precise.
  • Bring intelligent questions with you.


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