Informational Interviews 101: Simple Tips to Ace this Step of the Job Search

informational interviewingInformational interviews are an underrated and often forgotten tactic for job seekers looking to network, learn more about the industry and get their foot in the door with connections. Yes, they can be intimidating due to the fact you, as the job seeker, are initiating these meetings, but the benefits of a successful informational interview are abundant. Remember these tips to help you plan, execute and walk away successfully from an informational interview: 

Know What You Want to Learn 

Before you reach out of anybody, figure out what you want to learn from the professionals within your industry. Do you want to hear about day-to-day life on the job? What about the types of companies you could work for? Maybe you simply want to know how to get started in the job search. Make sure you have clear goals in mind, so you have better direction.

Prepare 

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

Like any interview, you must prepare. Learn about the professionals you’re meeting with and their positions; then think about and write down questions you would like to ask. The better prepared you are, the smoother the meeting will go. 

Create an Agenda 

Since you arranged this meeting, you should create the agenda. It doesn’t have to be a formal document, but you should at least jot down what you would like the meeting to cover. This will help ensure you discuss everything you’d like, thus achieving your goals for the interview.

Be Professional 

This is a professional meeting, so you must fit the part. Wear interview attire, show up on time and have a firm handshake ready. 

Show Interest

During your interview, make sure you’re showing your interest not only in the industry, but the conversation, as well. The people you’re meeting with are taking time out of their days, and they will be much happier they did that if they feel like you were genuinely interested in what they had to say. 

Send a ‘Thank You’ 

A ‘thank you’ note or email is a must after an informational interview. Again, these people took time out of their busy days to meeting with you, so the least you could do is thank them.

Follow Up

Keep the conversation going! After your interview, make sure you follow up with the people you met with and any referrals they gave you. Remember, it’s not what you know, but the people you know, so keep reaching out to your professional contacts!

Don’t underestimate the power of informational interviews. Remember these tips and take advantage of this impactful job searching tactic.

Have an additional tip? Leave us a comment!

5 thoughts on “Informational Interviews 101: Simple Tips to Ace this Step of the Job Search

  1. As a recent graduate, one important gesture that I missed in my nervousness was to ask for a business card at the end of my interview. It’s so important, not only for future networking, but moreover, so that you really can send, with certainty, that genuiene, “Thank You!”

  2. Remember that the informational interview is about gathering information, not asking for a job! I like your comment about showing genuine interest.

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