Informational Interview Guide
Informational interviewing is a great way
- To refine your goals for your vocation and career.
- To acquire information about a specific role or position.
- To gather information about a particular organization.
- To learn about the job market in a specific industry or geographic region.
The goal of an informational interview is to gather information — NOT TO CONDUCT A JOB INTERVIEW!
Arrange informational interviews with people who
- Have the power to hire you.
- Are knowledgeable about the field or the organization.
- Have connections that may help you get your foot in the door of an organization or one similar to it.
Find the right people to interview by
- Identifying roles and/or organizations in which you are interested.
- Speaking to other Oles, mentors, coworkers (if appropriate), former coworkers, former professors, family, and friends to determine if they know people in the organizations and roles you have identified.
- Utilizing both the online St. Olaf Alumni Directory and LinkedIn to identify contacts.
- Initiating contact through a professional email, letter, or phone call.I
Ask for no more than 20 minutes of the person’s time
- Most people will be willing to spend 20 minutes with you, whereas half an hour (30 minutes) seems like a much longer period of time.
Preparing for an informational interview:
Prepare for an informational interview as if it were a screening interview, in which an organization conducts an initial interview to narrow the pool of applicants.
Informational interviews can quickly turn into job interviews if you happen to contact a person whose organization has a vacancy or who may want to create a new position around your qualifications.
Preparing questions for an informational interview:
- Prepare written questions in advance.
- Prioritize your questions so that you list the most essential information first.
- Review ”What questions might you ask during an informational interview?”
Final five minutes:
- Let the person know that you don’t want to use more than 20 minutes of the person’s time.
- If the person states a willingness to give you extra time, then you may spend more time.
- Ask for contacts or referrals.
- Ask if you may use the interviewer’s name in approaching these contacts or referrals.
- Thank the interviewer for meeting with you.
- State how helpful the information was in your career search.