Informational Interview: Learn About Careers

Carry out informational interviews to learn about a career or a company

An informational interview is a small meeting to understand about the real-life experience of a field or company that interests you from someone who is currently working in it. It’s more to do with getting information and building the understanding, so it’s important to keep focus.

How do I initiate an informational interview?

Find potential contacts. Explore people in your and your friends’ network for contacts in a field, company or job profile that inspires you. The LinkedIn can also be helpful to you in finding contacts in an industry.

Get in touch with. Either call or e-mail to get in touch with your contact. The start could be: “Mr. Salman, Amir Khan suggested I speak with you. My name is Ranbir Kapoor and I have a keen interest in the ________ field. Do you have time in the coming weeks to meet for about 20 minutes? I would really like to learn more about your company and the ________ field from someone experienced like you.”

 Hold the meeting. After introducing yourself and your agenda, give a brief summary of your career goal, or what you to wish to learn from them. Prepare plethora of questions to make good use of the time but respect their time.

See: Common Interview Questions

Prospective questions include: 

  • What is a typical day like in your job?
  • What do you like most / least about this career?
  • Is your job typical of others in this field?
  • Are there related fields I might want to look into?
  • What makes a resume impressive in your field?
  • Is my resume appropriate for this occupation?
  • How do you stay current in your knowledge?
  • What are employers looking for in this career (skills, education, experience)?
  • What’s the best way to find out about jobs in this field?
  • What is the career ladder for this position?
  • What are current job prospects like?
  • What are the future trends for this field?
  • What would you recommend I do at this point to get into this field?
  • Is there anyone else you would recommend I talk to in this field?

To learn more about a specific company, ask questions like these:

  • What’s the corporate culture like here?
  • How do you normally hire for this occupation?
  • What is the average turnover in this type of job?
  • Which firms do you think are your toughest competitors, and how do they differ from your company?
  • What else do I need to know?
  • Make a good impression. This person may provide additional referrals that could lead to a job.

See: Job Applications

Keep the interview short between 15 to 30 minutes based on how the conversation is going. End the interview with any follow-up actions you will take based on their recommendations.  Thank them for their valuable time and information, and send a thank-you note after your interview.

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