By Zoe Brinner ’23
CES Peer Advisor
Wondering about informational interviews? Here’s a quick overview for you…
What is it?
An informational interview is a chance for you to learn more about a job or industry that you are interested in by speaking with a professional in the field.
Unlike an interview that you might have while applying for a job, in this interview you are in control of what questions you ask and who you talk to.
Your focus might be career-development-oriented — asking what steps your interviewee took to land their job, what roles they held previously, or what values their organization prioritizes.
Or your focus might be lifestyle-oriented — if you’re wondering how many hours per week someone in your interviewee’s role works, if they bring their work home with them, or what their stress level is like.
You can mix and match as many types of questions as you want as long as you’re learning something new.
When you hear about the day-to-day of a job or an employee’s experience at an organization, you’ll gain a sense of whether or not it resonates with you.
Why conduct them?
Whether you’re unsure of what’s next for you, or you know exactly what you want, informational interviews will help you gain confidence and prepare for the future. In this unique setting, you get to ask questions of real people about their experiences, and gain information about jobs, organizations, or industries that might not be readily available online.
When you hear about the day-to-day of a job or an employee’s experience at an organization, you’ll gain a sense of whether or not it resonates with you. And voila! You know a little more about what you do and don’t want.
It might not be that easy to figure out what you want to pursue. But finding out what you’re not interested in is just as important!
And if your conversation confirms an interest, you’ll likely emerge from the interview with new resources, a better understanding of how to pursue your goal, and confidence in your pursuit.
Not only can you learn a lot from an informational interview, you’ll also grow your network. This one-time conversation could become an ongoing connection that will aid you on your career journey. Maybe your interviewee will invite you to shadow them on-the-job. Maybe they’ll offer to let you know about opportunities at their organization. Maybe this person will become your mentor. The potential benefits are abundant!
Still have questions about the what and why of informational interviews? Reach out to Career and Employment Services. We’re happy to talk it through with you!