Informational interview is an informal conversation with the employed professional, and is a great way to learn about a company’s culture and job position. It will provide you with insider’s tips about the role’s nature and industry that you are interested in, while expanding your professional network. This will also help you to better prepare for a job interview, or learn about other job opportunities.
Before the meeting
As always be prepared for the informational interview and show appreciation to the professional for his/her time and expertise. Have a clear objective before you enter the meeting, and ask questions that show you have done your research.
During the meeting
Provide a short background about yourself including your strengths and experience, as well as career goals and objectives.
I am a Year____ student majoring in______. I am interested in (insert the industry or job position that you are interested in). I understand that this role/industry requires (insert the skill or experience), and I have been (insert your achievements and strengths). My career goal/ objective is______. Could you share a bit more insight with me about how to (insert your career goal/objective) ?
After the introduction, here are some examples questions to ask:
• With my background in _____and work experience in _____, do you think I will be suitable for a ____role in this field?
• What skills, abilities, and personal attributes are essential for this job/this field?
• What is a typical day or week like for you?
• What do you like most about working at the company? How’s the company culture like?
• What is the most challenging part of working for the company or industry?
• What advice can you give someone like me who’s looking for a career in this industry?
• What related fields do you think I should consider looking into besides ____industry?
• Can you recommend any online or offline resources that would be helpful for my professional development?
After the meeting
It’s important to send a thank you note or email to express gratitude or even express interest in a job opportunity. A successful informational interview can lead to a potential job referral and open doors.