What is an informational interview?
An informational interview is a meeting with a professional intended to help you define your career options or learn more about a company. It is NOT a job interview, so do not expect a job offer.
What is my role?
You conduct the interview, so prepare enough questions to keep the conversation going. Include questions about their business and job duties, but be sure to ask them if they like their jobs and what they spend the majority of their day doing. Ask open ended questions to avoid yes and no answers.
How do I set one up?
1. Find people
Ask everyone you know for potential contacts in companies or specific fields that interest you.
2. Make contact
Pick up the phone and make contact. Possible phone script:
"Mrs. Jones, Brad Anderson suggested I speak with you. My name is Steven Olson and I am interested in the ________ field. I could use advice from someone who is in this field. Do you have any time this week when I could meet with you? I know you're busy, so I only need about 15 minutes of your time. I would really like to learn more about your company and the ________ field from someone like you."
What else should I remember?
If meeting in person, dress and act professionally.
Make a good impression since the person you are interviewing may provide you with job referrals.
Keep it short. Limit your initial interview between 15-30 minutes, depending on how the interview goes.
Feel free to schedule an interview with someone that has the ability to hire new employees since they can provide you with helpful information.
Conclude the interview with a plan of action. Ask the interviewee if you can contact him or her again.
Send a thank-you note a day after the interview!
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