Top 5 – Tips on Informational Interview

Top 5 – How to Conduct an Informational Interview

About three years ago, I conducted an extensive job search. As part of that job search, I held probably 40 information interviews. Well, now life reverses its course and I’ve been helping folks out recently as I’ve been the interviewee on the information interview.

As such, here’s my top 5 tips on how to conduct an informational interview:

1) Don’t be afraid and just ask – Most people fail to conduct successful informational interviews because they never ask anyone. People like helping others out especially if the ask is clear (and a little flattering)

2) Do your research – it sounds simple but if you ask for an informational interview, value that person’s time. Spend at least an hour on Google before checking out that person’s LinkedIn profile, friends in common, and articles they’ve written or been written about. You’d be surprised how many people skip this step.

3) Give a few options – People are busy so give them a few options – lunch, coffee, beer. Also sometimes in person can be too tough – so give phone an option. Every person has a preferred mode of communication and let the interviewee decide

4) Have questions – There is nothing more awkward when you get to an information interview and the interviewer has no questions. Yes some small talk is good for awhile. But why are we here? What do you want to learn? How can I help? Come prepared with clear questions and clear asks

5) Follow-up – After an informational interview, it is so important to follow-up. And yes, a thank you is nice. But I really mean follow-up on your discussion. Perhaps I’ve offered to introduce you to a few people, remind me. If you get a job in a few months, write me a note and tell me what happened

Been on an informational interview lately? What’s your tip?

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