Informational interviewing can be a great way to understand if an organization would be a good fit for you, if this is a field you want to go into, and how to get where you want to go.

Informational interviews are much like one-to-ones. The goal is to have a conversation and establish common values, while gleaning information that can guide you in your career path.

A few key points before you get started:

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask. If you meet someone who does interesting work, ask them to meet with you. Chances are they have been on the other side of informational interviewing, and are happy to share experiences. Even if you are not looking for work in the moment, it is always helpful to learn about different work environments and jobs. You never know when it will come in handy down the line.
  2. Be prepared. Come with questions and a clear idea of what you want to get out of the meeting. Whether you are asking about a particular organization, or meeting with someone who is an expert in a field, it is your responsibility to guide the conversation.
  3. This is not a job interview. In some cases you will meet with people who do not have influence over the hiring process. Use informational interviews to figure out if an organization, job, or career path would be a good fit for you.
  4. Ask if they know anyone else you can meet. Through your discussion you may determine other people who would be good to talk to. The more informational interviews you go on, the more you can determine the work you want to do and work environment you want to be in.
  5. Do they have suggestions? Ask them if there are organizations you should look into or others that are hiring. You may learn about organizations you have never heard of before!
  6. Thank them!

Want to learn more? Our Toolbox can also give you some guidance when developing questions to ask during the interview.

Have a strategy for informational interviews? Share in the comments!