By Expedi USA, December 22, 2021

Everything You Must Know About Conducting an Informational Interview

Interview the person whose job you want to get and gain insights into how they got it.

Have you ever wondered what a career is actually like before going for an interview? This is where an informational interview comes in handy. You can know everything about the profession by asking a person with first-hand experience. The aim of an informational interview is not to get the job. Instead, it is a meeting where you can learn about a career from another person working in that job. In not more than 20-30 minutes, the interview helps you understand if the career you are looking to enter suits your skills and interests. If not, you save time to change the course of your career.

Here’s a guide for learning the what, why, and how of an informational interview. Read on to find out.

What is the Objective of an Informational Interview?

Apart from improving your communication skills and boosting your confidence to crack the high-pressure job interview, an informational interview also offers an inside look at the company or industry you will work for in the future. Other benefits of an informational interview include:-

  • You come across your professional strengths and weaknesses
  • You learn to research various careers, openings, and positions
  • You become better prepared for future job interviews
  • You discover the realities of pursuing a particular career
  • You can increase your network contacts

How Can You Ask for an Informational Interview?

Your primary approach to an informational interview can be to ask someone you already know, whether a former colleague or a senior. The other way to ask for an informational interview is through emails and online messages. Ensure that your message is clear, concise, and professional. Here are some pointers that you must include in your message:-

  • Your introduction
  • Tell them the reference through which you found them
  • Explain the purpose of your message
  • Seek their help
  • Thank them for their time and consideration

How Can You Conduct an Effective Informational Interview?

Since you are the one who’s going to benefit from an informational interview, you should always be prepared beforehand about what to ask and what information to gain. You can get the most out of an informational interview by following the steps mentioned below:-

1. Research the Organization and Industry You Want to Enter

Even if you are conducting an informational interview to gain insights into your preferred career, it is always good to research the basic information about the company and industry you are interested in working for in the future.

Seek out information about the industry trends, the company’s reputation in the market, its culture, goals, and plans. Why? Because this will help you understand what information you need to ask about the company during the informational interview.

2. Work Out a List of Questions to Ask the Interviewee

To get all the information you require, you must be prepared beforehand with a list of questions about the other person’s position in the company, their area of expertise, and so on. You can prepare various questions for different aspects ranging from industry to the organization’s culture and work environment. Some of the questions that you can ask during an informational interview include:-

  • How did you land this job?
  • According to you, which aspects of your job are the most satisfying and the most challenging?
  • What are your everyday roles and responsibilities?
  • What education is required to land this job?
  • What are the skills and abilities to become successful in this career?

3. Display a Professional Behaviour

Just like a job interview, you must be professional in an informational interview as well. Ensure that you reach on time and actively listen to what the person has to say. Listening actively to the information can help you follow up and delve deeper into the company’s operations. Also, do not persist them for information that they are not comfortable in sharing.

During the interview, let them know about your own experiences and show respect for the time and efforts they have put in for you. Lastly, remember that you are interviewing for general industry knowledge and not to ask for a job offer. Asking for a job offer can make them more reluctant to answer your questions.

4. Increase Your Networking Opportunities

After you have asked all the questions and learned everything you wanted to about the company and industry, you can use this opportunity to increase your network. Ask the person for more people you can interview to increase your knowledge about some specific areas related to the industry.

What NOT to Do During the Interview?

Apart from the things that you should do, there are certain things that you should avoid doing at all costs in an informational interview, which include:-

1. Never Ask For a Job Offer

As mentioned earlier, you are interviewing to learn about the industry and benefit from the networking. However, asking for a job offer can give them the wrong idea and bring hindrances to the purpose of your interview.

2. Do Not Dress Informally

Remember that the person you are interviewing can help you gain connections and provide you with more opportunities. Therefore, it is crucial to make an excellent first impression. Ensure to treat this opportunity as an actual interview and dress professionally.

What Should You Do After the Interview is Over?

Once the interview is over, send a thank you email within 24 hours. Sending a thank you email helps express your appreciation and gratitude to the person for taking time and providing you with information about the career. Also, ask the person if they would like to keep in touch and strengthen your relationship by updating them about your career developments; maybe they might help you again sometime in the future.

What’s next?

Once you have all the information about your chosen career path and are ready to take the next step, how can you find the perfect job? By collaborating with ExpediUSA! ExpediUSA is a feature-packed, robust online job portal for job seekers, offering more than 1000 job openings. Moreover, the hands-on counselors help you build an attractive portfolio and provide tips to crack the interview. So what are you waiting for? Get in touch with an ExpediUSA expert TODAY and make your way towards a career that helps you grow personally and professionally.

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