The Best Description of an Informational Interview

After graduation, you pull yourself together to apply for every job advertisement that comes your way. While you think you have the right strategy to get a job, the reality is different. Most of the best job opportunities aren’t advertised by the companies. In fact, 80% of the job market consists of unadvertised job positions.

So, is there any way to tap on the best positions?

Instead of just responding to every job advertisement and submitting your resume and cover letter, an informational interview is the most effective and better approach to securing a good position. To know more about the informational interview and how to conduct it, stay tuned.

The procedure of these interviews

An informational interview can be described as a casual conversation between a job seeker and a person who works in the company to know about the industry, company culture, growth options, and other related things.

A real-life experience from an already employed person helps the job seeker know whether he would survive in this company/field and what are the possible ways to succeed in it. 

In a nutshell, an informational interview can be described as a conversation that discloses the benefits, drawbacks, and job options available in the industry.

Informational interviews are not more than 15-30 minutes long. To get the most out of the discussion, you should prepare your interview by researching the person you have an interview with and the industry and company.

Steps to conduct an informational interview successfully

Informational interview

Follow the given steps to conduct an informational interview and improve your chances to get a job in the future:

Step 1: Research career options and company/employer

Start the process by researching the field/company you are interested in and want to work in. You can get an idea about the company through search engines and look at employees’ profiles on LinkedIn or other social media handles.

Step 2: Find the person to interview

There isn’t any sure-shot formula to reach out to such contacts, but a strong networking skill will lead you to that person.

  • Try to stay in touch with your contact list. Your family, friends, colleagues, teachers, professors all come on the list. Even if they are not connected to your field, they might refer you to a person in your field.
  • Contact the alumni through the alumni network. It is an uncommon practice but, if done correctly, can help you in setting up the informational interview.

Step 3: Prepare questions to ask in the informational interview

Prepare your introduction and a list of questions you want to ask. Open-ended questions give you the chance to explore more on the topic.

➡LEARN MORE: Good Questions to Ask in an Interview

Step 4: Start the contact

Contact the person through email or phone and mention why you contacted him and how you got his name. Tell him that you want peer advice and detailed information about the company/industry.

Ask him whether he would spare some time to give you some information. If he agrees, set up a date, time, and place for a 2-30-minute interview.

The person you contact may show a willingness to ask the questions on the spot as he might not be available any sooner after that. In that case, it is better to prepare all the questions beforehand.

Step 5: Conduct the informational interview

  • Dress appropriately and reach on time for the interview
  • Don’t forget to bring the list of questions with you
  • Start the interview by giving a brief introduction about your educational background and restate your objective
  • Be ready to direct the discussion but also let the interviewee talk naturally and do most of the talking
  • Ask for other people in the industry who can help you
  • Try to finish the interview in an already set timeframe 
  • In the end, thank the interviewee and ask if you can contact him for further guidance

Step 6: Stay in touch

  • Document what you learned and what is more to know
  • Send a “thank you note” in the form of an email or letter to appreciate the time and insights delivered to you
  • Stay in touch with the person
  • Let them know if you got the job and that you followed their advice
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