By Zoe Brinner ’23
CES Peer Advisor
You’ve chosen an interviewee, scheduled an interview, and prepared your questions. You’re almost ready for the interview!
As your interview approaches we recommend that you:
- Send an email to confirm your interview 24–48 hours in advance.
- Dress to impress — business casual is a good standard, but if that feels odd, dress to match the industry. Is your dream job in a suit-and-tie or a jeans-and-tee office?
- Arrive 10 minutes early and get comfortable in the interview setting or hop into the zoom room a few minutes before the scheduled start to check that your technology is working.
If meeting new people makes you feel anxious, that’s okay! I generally consider myself outgoing, but hopping on zoom to have a conversation with a stranger definitely made me nervous.
The key is to set up the interview in a way that makes you feel good…
If you’re at a cafe, you can order a comforting drink. If you’re online, try sitting at your desk but with a blanket on your lap, or light a soothing aromatic candle.
You should conduct yourself professionally, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take care of yourself too. Afterall, this is your interview — you set the tone!
Once you sit down together, introduce yourself, thank them for meeting with you, and restate what you hope to learn. Once you’ve done this, you can make small talk, get to know each other more, or jump right into the questions — whichever feels best.
Take notes during the interview on anything that you think is helpful — just because a comment stands out in the moment doesn’t guarantee that you’ll remember it later.
At the end, thank them for their time and insight. You might also ask if you may stay in-touch, or request a referral to contact other professionals in their network.
Afterwards, send them a thank-you note. Not sure how? We have a stellar guide on our website here.
To show your gratitude for your interviewee, say more than “thank you.” Tell them exactly what you are thankful for. You might include these specific points to make your card more meaningful.
- Thank them for letting you interview them
- Provide a specific piece of insight or advice that they gave which you found especially helpful
- Describe what you have been doing differently (and better) because of them
You’ve finished the interview and thanked the interviewee. You’re almost done — but you’re not done yet.
To make sure that you get the most out of your interview, take 10–20 minutes to reflect or journal on what you’ve learned and consider the following questions:
- What did you learn? Did anything especially excite or shock you (good or bad)?
- Did the interviewee’s experience sound like one that you would like to have?
- Is what you like/dislike due to their job, company, lifestyle, or another factor?
- Do you feel more or less interested in the job/field than you did before the interview?
- What are your next steps? How would you like to follow through with what you learned?
Now that you’ve held one informational interview, you have a little more momentum toward your career’s development! Not sure where to take it next? Visit CES in Howarth 101 and we’ll help you figure it out.