How to Conduct Informational Interviews: The Ultimate Guide

How to Conduct Informational Interviews: The Ultimate Guide

Thinking about making a career change or looking to level up your job search? Well, I've got just the trick for you: informational interviews! These casual yet enlightening conversations with professionals in your desired field can provide invaluable insights and help you build meaningful connections. So, let's dive in and explore how informational interviews can effortlessly transform your career journey.


 What's an Informational Interview, Anyway?

Imagine sitting down with a seasoned pro in your dream industry over a cup of coffee (or virtual coffee) and having a relaxed chat about their experiences, expertise, and insider tips. That's exactly what an informational interview is all about. It's not a formal job interview or a high-pressure situation; instead, it's a chance to soak up knowledge, learn about potential career paths, and gain a fresh perspective.


Why Should You Embrace Informational Interviews?

1. Gain Genuine Insights: Informational interviews give you a backstage pass to the real world of your desired field. You get to hear firsthand accounts of the day-to-day realities, triumphs, and challenges from professionals who have been there, done that. It's like having a secret decoder to unlock the mysteries of your dream job.

2. Develop Authentic Connections: Networking doesn't have to be daunting or forced. Through informational interviews, you can build authentic connections with professionals who share your passion. These connections might lead to mentorship opportunities, referrals, or even unexpected job openings. It's all about expanding your tribe and finding kindred spirits along the way.

3. Obtain Priceless Advice: Who better to give you career advice than those who have already walked the path? During informational interviews, you can tap into a treasure trove of wisdom. Professionals can offer insights on how to break into the industry, what skills are in demand, and how to navigate the twists and turns of your chosen career. It's like having a personal career coach cheering you on.


Easy Steps to Rock Your Informational Interviews:

Now that you're excited about the possibilities, let's break down the steps to conduct an informational interview with ease:

1. Scout Out Potential Interviewees: Start by researching professionals in your desired field or industry. Platforms like LinkedIn are goldmines for finding professionals. Look for shared interests or common connections to make your outreach more personalized.

2. Craft a Warm Connection Request: Once you've identified potential interviewees, send them a connection request with a customized note. Make it warm and personal by mentioning something you admire about their work or finding common ground. Remember, the goal is to build rapport and start a genuine conversation. Here is an example:

Hi Erica,
I came across your profile and noticed that we both graduated from the HR program at Georgian College. Small world, right? I'd love to connect with you.

3. Extend Your Invitation: Once your connection request is accepted, it's time to invite them for an informational interview. Simply express your curiosity about their career journey and politely ask if they'd be open to sharing their experiences. Suggest a few potential meeting times to make scheduling a breeze.

Here is an example of an information interview request:

Hi Erica,
Thanks for accepting my connection request. I'm currently exploring new opportunities, and XYZ Company is definitely on my radar as a top choice. I noticed you've been working there since 2019, which is awesome! I'd love to have a virtual coffee chat with you to hear about your career journey and experiences at XYZ Company. Can we schedule some time on Thursday or Friday morning?

4. Prepare with Ease: Before the interview, jot down some questions you'd love to ask. Take a quick peek at their background, company, and industry to show your interest and tailor your questions. Keep it conversational and relaxed – this isn't a scripted interrogation.

Here are a few questions you could ask:

  1. Can you tell me about your career path and how you got to where you are today?
  2. What are the key skills or qualifications needed to succeed in this industry or field?
  3. How has your industry evolved over the years, and what trends do you see shaping its future?
  4. Can you share any advice for someone looking to enter this field or industry?
  5. What is a typical day like in your role?
  6. How do you stay updated on industry news, developments, and best practices?
  7. Can you provide insights into the company culture and work environment?
  8. What aspects of your job do you find most rewarding?
  9. How does your organization support professional growth and career advancement?
  10. Is there anything else I should know about this industry or role?

5. Engage and Enjoy: During the interview, keep an open mind and enjoy the conversation. Let the questions flow naturally and listen intently to their stories and insights. This is your chance to learn, grow, and soak in the wisdom of someone who has been where you aspire to be.

At the end of your call, it's a great idea to express your genuine interest in learning more about the industry or company. You can simply say, "I really enjoyed our conversation today, and I would love to learn more about XYZ. Is there anyone you could recommend or connect me with, who I can reach out to for another insightful interview?" . By seeking out warm leads like this, you'll be able to continue your exploration and expand your network.

6. Gracious Follow-Up: After the interview, don't forget to send a heartfelt thank-you note. Express your gratitude for their time, wisdom, and any specific advice that resonated with you. This simple gesture shows your appreciation and keeps the connection alive.

Informational interviews are your passport to discovery and growth. Embrace the opportunity to learn, connect, and explore new horizons. Remember, it's a relaxed and easygoing way to gain insights and build connections that may shape your career in unexpected ways. So, put yourself out there, have fun, and let the magic unfold!

Until next time!


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