Connect with & Learn from the Experts!
Have you ever wondered how someone gets that dream job? What route did that person take to be in that position? One of the best ways for you to learn about a particular job or company that interests you is to do an informational interview.
What is an informational interview?
An information interview is a meeting that allows the interviewer to learn about a specific job type, career or company. Your interviewee can be anyone you want to learn more about or someone who can give you an insider's scoop. Informational interviews allow you to ask the questions you've always wondered about, from a professional who is working in an area that interests you.
Is an informational interview right for you?
An information interview can help with the following:
- Determine if this is the right career field for you;
- Prepare you for future job interviews by being a better informed applicant;
- Help you determine if this is the right career field for you;
- Explore the variety of career paths available in that field;
- Grow your professional network with the contacts you interview; and
- Build your confidence to engage in professional conversations in your field of interest.
How do you begin?
- Complete a self-assessment: What are your career goals? What do you want to learn from the professional you plan to interview?
- Make a list of potential organizations/professionals to interview: Use LACS resources to research organizations of interest and explore our Networking page to learn how to identify contacts you would be interested in interviewing.
- Research the organization: Before you conduct your informational interview, research the interviewee's company and position to show your interest. One of the best ways to research an organization is to read their website: review the employer's history, mission, current strategy, and employee profiles.
- List your questions: After you have done your research, identify a few topics about which you would like more information. Below are a few general examples of questions often asked in informational interviews, check out our Interview Questions page for a comprehensive list.
- What is a typical day like for your position?
- What would be the most challenging aspect of working in this type of organization?
- What is the typical career path for someone in an entry-level position here?
- What qualities do you look for in a candidate?
- What skills have helped new professionals get started and have success with your organization?
Setting Up The Interview
There are numerous ways to contact the professional you wish to interview or someone who can make the interview happen. Whether you are reaching out by LinkedIn, email, phone or in person, a good message should include a brief introduction, your reason for contacting them and your reason for wanting to learn more from them.
Sample: Hello. My name is _________ and I am a ____(your major)____student at The University of Texas at Austin considering a future career in ____(the field of interest)____. I am not currently in the job market; however, considering my interest and your professional background, I thought I would connect with you to ask if you might be able to spare some time to speak with me about your career path. I would greatly appreciate 15 to 30 minutes of your time to learn about your profession, your company and to hear your advice.
This is just one example of what your email/phone conversation could sound like. Above all, make sure that it is personal and professional. Be prepared with available times you can meet in person or on the phone, and if necessary, to conduct the informational interview right then. Remember: you are asking them to take time out of their schedule to help you, so be as courteous and accommodating as possible.
- Always make it apparent that you are there to gather information about the field/company, not to push your resume on them.
- Have detailed facts and research on the organization. This will help demonstrate your professionalism and interest in the person, organization and industry.
- Prepare specific questions. The more detailed a question you ask, the more likely you will get a detailed answer.
- Dress appropriately for your interviewee’s profession and/or the location of your meeting.
- Follow up with a personalized thank you letter (email acceptable). Show your gratitude for the time they took out of their schedule to help you. Be sure to proofread the document and use complete sentences.
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