Informational Interviewing Dos Donts

How to Successfully Use Informational Interviewing

Informational interviewing is a networking technique used by job seekers. If you recently graduated college or are thinking of switching careers, you need to get contacts in the field you are considering. One great way to do this is to have an informative discussion. You can meet with an acquaintance and ask them questions about their job.

However, you also need to remember that this is a networking technique. That means you aren’t only asking them questions to find out about their career, but to cultivate and grow connections as well. There are some informational interviewing dos and don’ts that you need to make sure to follow as best as you can.

Key Strategies to Use

Just as there are certain things you want to do in an interview for a job, there are also certain things you want to make sure to do and not do in an informational interview.

  • Make sure to conduct an interview with someone who is in a career that you would like to have.

  • Use a medium that makes sense for your situation—over-the-phone interview, e-mail discussion, videoconferencing or an in person interview.

  • Try to keep the interview to 20 or 30 minutes. This shows that you care about the other person’s time.

  • If you don’t have anyone in your network who you would like to interview, ask them if they know anyone in the career you are thinking about. This is a good way to expand your network.

  • Since informational interviewing dos and don’ts are similar to those of other interviewing techniques, make sure that you do a little bit of research on the company that they work for. This will help you have a meaningful discussion about their career.

  • Decide if you want to record the meeting either by taking notes or using a recording device. If you do use a recording device, make sure to get permission first.

  • Dress well. This may just be an informational interview, but you still want to look professional. You want this person to think of you if a position would ever open up.

  • You should bring your resume. Even though you aren’t interviewing for a position, they may still want to see your resume. This will help them give you advice on what you should do to get a job in their career field.

  • Prepare a list of questions. This will ensure that you make the most of your short time, and it will help you keep your informational interviewing dos and don’ts in mind.

  • Make sure you show up on time. You don’t want to seem rude or misuse their time.

  • Feel free to ask them if they know of any positions that would fit your needs, or if they know anyone else who would be willing to talk to you.

  • Always thank the interviewee after the interview, and don’t forget to send them a letter or email too.

    Informational interviewing dos and don’ts are similar to those for other types of interviewing, but you need to remember that you aren’t interviewing for a job. You are simply getting information so you can be more successful at getting a job in the career that you want.

    What You Should Avoid Doing

    There are a lot of things you need to remember to do, and there are a few things you want to remember not to do too.

  • It is very important that you do not go into an informational interview thinking you are going to get a job. This person is a friend or a friend of a friend, and they are simply trying to help you out.

  • Don’t forget to be polite and pleasant. You may not be going in for a job, but you still want to seem like a professional. This person may recommend you for a position in the future.

  • Be careful that you don’t go over the allotted time.

  • Try not to be too pushy for answers that might be personal, like what their salary is or if their still single because of the job or something else.

    An information interview is the perfect networking tool for a recent graduate or someone looking to switch careers. It gives you an opportunity to learn about the career field from someone who is doing it. This will give you a great idea if it is the job you are actually looking for. You just need to keep in mind the informational interviewing dos and don’ts. Even though you may know the person you’re interviewing, this is still a professional meeting and you want to treat it that way.

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