Informational Interview

How Would I Conduct an Informational Interview?

  1. Setup a Meeting. This can be done one of three ways. You can phone your contact, send them an e-mail, or write an approach letter. If you are uncomfortable phoning your contact initially, you may find it useful to send them an email or letter first. Then calling them to request an interview time. DO NOT expect your contact to call you or write you back. You must take the initiative to call them back. If you reach voicemail or a receptionist, make sure to leave a clear message with your name and contact information.

    The most effective way to conduct an informational interview is in person. Phone meetings can be used when you and your contact are long distances apart.

    EXAMPLE of Phone Dialogue
    EXAMPLE Approach Letters
     
  2. Conducting the Informational Meeting. Begin the meeting on time and keep it to the length you had promised. These are very busy people, and you want to be considerate of their time. You should first introduce yourself and state your purpose (a.k.a. give your elevator pitch-Elevator Pitch Video). Then move into talking about your background in a conversational way. You will want to practice both the introduction and background before the interview, but do not sound rehearsed.

    Introduction Example:
    ”Hello. It is so nice to meet you, and I really appreciate you taking the time to meet with me. As I said in my (email, letter, phone call), I am interested in the area of ________. I will be graduating in _______, and am especially interested in the ___________ field. I am not looking for a job at this point, but am researching the field.” OR
    “I am researching possibilities for summer internships to gain experience in the _________ field, and would appreciate your perspective as someone working in the industry.”

    Background Example:
    “I’d like to tell you a little bit about my background, so you can give me advice on how I might plan my next steps. I am looking at becoming a certified financial planner upon graduation and believe that my analytical, problem solving, and communication strengths will be beneficial in this field. I eventually want to go back to school and obtain my Master’s in Education to eventually teach at the collegiate level.”
     
  3. Ask Questions During the Meeting. Remember you requested the interview and are in control. You want to come prepared with a list of 10-15 concise questions, so you do not waste the person’s time. Make sure to allow the person an opportunity to provide additional information. You will want to use a padfolio, a professional looking binder, when taking notes during the interview. If you have not seen or would like to see the work area, you can ask for a tour.

     
  4. End the meeting. The main objective of this portion of the meeting is to ask for referrals, obtain your contact’s business card, and thank the individual for their time and advice. If you have had a significant amount of direct experience, you could ask the interviewer to review your resume and give you ideas for improvement.

    Referral Example:
    “Again I appreciate you taking the time to meet with me, and the information you have provided me with today has been very useful. You have given me many new ideas to explore. I have one last request. The jobs you mentioned that would be appropriate for someone with my skills, education, and background sound interesting and I would like to find out more information about them. Do you know anyone in these industries or positions that would be willing to meet with me to obtain additional advice?” OR “Do you know anyone in (market research, human resources, public affairs, etc.) at (ABC Company) who could give me additional advice or give me ideas on future contacts?”

    Obtaining business card and saying thank you example:
    “Thanks again for taking the time to meet with me. I have enjoyed our meeting and it has been very useful to hear about someone’s experience in the industry. I will let you know how I am doing.” OR “This meeting has been very helpful; may I contact you in a few months when I have progressed in my search?” THEN ASK FOR BUSINESS CARD.
     
  5. Thank You. A thank you should be sent to the person within 24 hours of the interview. You can type a letter, send an email, or handwritten note on a “thank you card” or on professional appearing stationary. Some points to consider when writing your thank you:

    • Make sure your note is legible (if handwritten) and that the interviewer’s name is spelled correctly
    • Use a blue or black ink pen
    • Sign your name at the bottom of your letter with a printed version directly below it to eliminate the guesswork of who the card came from
    • Keep it simple and to the point

    Example Thank Yous

Last Modified: 8/10/17 3:14 PM