“What are the benefits of an Informational Interview?”
Have you ever been stuck in between what you think you should do and what the world expects from you? Has there been a career that seems quite interesting, but you can’t find accurate information on the role or how to even start? Even with all the information that is thrown at us, there is still so much we can’t find on our own; and this is where informational interviews come in handy.
What are the benefits of an Informational Interview?
An informational interview is one of the most used networking strategies. Reaching out to experienced professionals who are in positions of your interest will give you the opportunity to:
- See what a specific position requires
- Meet recently graduate students and ask them what the first steps are to get to the desired position they currently have
- Get inspiration and valuable advice
- Grow your networking contact list
- Open doors to volunteer work, internships, and that first step in the right direction
What should you ask and to who?
When landing an informational interview, you are usually expected to arrive with a range of questions regarding compensation, work/life balance, work environment, and skills needed for that specific position. Most commonly, these interviews are mandatory for graduating students to start a dialogue as well as practice for future networking scenarios; but students are not the only ones benefitting from this great tool. Anyone is welcome to ask for an informational interview, especially with people you might already look up to like your peers, instructors, or online contacts. The interview does not have to be in person, there are many online tools like Skype and Google Hangouts that can be used to have a one-on-one conversation without having to be in the same city.
Questions to ask:
- What does your day-to-day look like?
- What skills do I need for the position?
- What types of clients do you usually get?
- What resources should I be aware of when having this position?
- What inspired you to get started in this business?
- What external influences would you recommend to me?
- What is the work culture like in your place of work?
- What advice do you have for someone trying to get into the field?
Where do I find the interviewees and how do I get an informational interview?
Currently, LinkedIn is usually the most common place to find interviewees, as you can very clearly see what the person does, where they work, as well as their affiliation and business interests. If you find someone whose career matches your own interests feel free to message them asking to talk. LinkedIn messenger is one of the most common techniques for getting an informational interview.
How to ask for an informational interview:
- Briefly introduce yourself
- Explain how you found the person
- Specify what you are looking for. Mention the “informational interview” and a short meeting time of 15-30 minutes
- Offer to provide your resume
- If the person is unavailable to meet, ask them if they can refer you to other people
Without a doubt, informational interviews are quite resourceful at the time of deciding what your future should look like. Remember this is not a job interview, this is an open door to a world you still have not been a part of, treat it as a very valuable opportunity to get to the place you want to be in the future.
The University of British Columbia (2019) Informational interviews, Retrieved from https://students.ubc.ca/career/career-resources/informational-interviews
UCLA (2019) Informational Interviews, retrieved from https://www.career.ucla.edu/Explore-Careers-Left-Side-Nav/What-is-an-Informational-Review