Informational interviews can be a great way to develop your career path: allowing you a chance to gain insight into a job field and to make some new connections. However, if you don’t know what to expect or how to prepare, it can be a stressful situation. Here are some tips to make sure you get the most out of your informational interview.
- Research the company and the role. You want to keep informational interviews pretty short (about 30 minutes), so make sure that you’re using your time during the interview to learn some insider details about the job or the company. A good resource can be the Vault Career Insider, which can be accessed through your home page on CareerNet.
- Bring a resume. Even though you aren’t asking for a job (more on that later!), you want to let the interviewer get a good picture of your experience so they can give you information and advice that’s most relevant to you. This also can help them remember details about you if you maintain a relationship with the interviewer.
- Prepare questions that really interest you. Reflect on what matters to you in a job – hours, mobility, culture, etc. Some common questions are: What do you see as the potential for growth in this field? What can I do now to help me find employment in this field? What do you like about your career and what don’t you like about it?
- Ask for a job, internship, or interview. The interviewer granted you the informational interview as a chance for learning and networking, and if you turn it into a job hunt it will likely turn them off and hurt your reputation. After the interviewer gets to know you, it’s possible that they will keep you in mind for future hiring needs. But now is not the time.
- Show up without a goal in mind. If you don’t have a clear purpose for the interview, your questions and interactions might seem disjointed. Before the interview, think about what you really want to achieve: build professional contacts, learn how to break into a field, decide what role might be best for you, etc.
- Come too early. An informational interview usually benefits you more than it benefits the interviewer, so you don’t want to assume too much of their time. Stick to the schedule as much as possible.
Not sure that your informational interviewing skills are up to par? Schedule an appointment with a career counselor or come to a Wasserman Meet Up for a chance to chat with Wasserman staff and employers in a relaxed setting.