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Informational Interview

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Informational Interview

 

The term informational interview refers to a casual meeting or conversation between a person who works for an organization and a job applicant. The applicant may be applying for an available position at the interviewer’s company, or they may be seeking information about the industry in general. 

 

An informational interview is an informal discussion and should not be confused with a job interview. The purpose of this interview is for a job-seeker to gather information, not sell their own qualifications. Job-seekers may interview contacts such as former employers, professors, GSIs, friends, or even family members. 

 

The six steps of an informational interview are:

 

  1. Research career fields by conducting online research.

  2. Identify people who work in the field of interest.

  3. Prepare thoroughly for the informational interview, with specific questions to ask. 

  4. Contact the target individual via email or through a LinkedIn message. 

  5. Conduct the interview. The job-seeker should treat an informational interview as professionally as they do a job interview by dressing professionally, arriving on time, and being prepared. It’s essential to respect the individual’s time and limit the interview to a timeframe agreed upon in advance. 

  6. Follow up with the individual. Keep solid records about informational interviews, along with notes taken during the interview. Most experts recommend sending a thank you note via either mail or email within two days following the interview. 

 

An informational interview can also be a follow-up interview with an employer after an offer has been made and before the candidate has made a decision. 

 

Example:

 

In an informational interview, an applicant may ask the interviewer these types of open-ended questions:

 

  • How did you get your start working in this industry? 

  • Can you describe your organization’s culture? 

  • How important are diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within the company? 

  • What have been some of your biggest projects?

 

Related Terms

Informational Meeting

is a term used interchangeably with Informational Interview.
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