I really really wish we did more informational interviews in the world. Like it needs to become the norm in your educational career (Seriously, can I speak to someone about this?) An informational interview is simply a conversation or an interview between you and someone who works in a field that you are interested in.
Informational interviews are a great way to find out if a specific field or career is for you. I have had two informational interviews in my life and in both cases, those interviews were the deciding factor when it came to me pursuing those fields.
So how do you get an informal interview? Simply find people in the field or fields you are interested in. You can do this by using LinkedIn, social media sites such as Facebook or Instagram or you can ask people you know if you know someone who can help you. Another great option is to look for a company that you are interested in and just do some research on who works there and what they do. Once you have found your person or people, you need to obtain their contact details either to have a conversation via email, telephone or in-person.
I strongly recommend that whenever possible you go for the in-person option. It is an easier way to make an impression and be remembered.
Have you found your person? Have you scored a meeting? Great, let’s move on to the next step!
Here are some tips on acing an informational interview
Go in prepared- Read over your resume so that you are familiar with your past work experience and work on your elevator pitch. Prepare for this the way you would for any other interview. Just make sure that you have more questions than you would for a regular interview. Remember the point of this is for you to figure out if this role is for you or not.
Research the company, the field and the individual– You want to show that you are familiar with the industry and you do have some sort of background knowledge on the company. Basically the golden rule of informational interviews is to prep the way you would for a regular interview but maybe prep twice as hard?
Come prepared with questions– You are meeting to gather information so come prepared with 3-5 questions on the role or that specific field.
Do not ask for a job– Remember that the point of this interview is information. Do not directly ask for a job.
An informational interview is an excellent way for you to learn more about a field, gain contacts in the field and in some cases even get your foot in the door.