Whether you are an entry level job seeker or an experienced professional looking to transition into a new career path, informational interviews should be a part of your job search strategy. Here are 5 How To Tips to Conduct a Successful Informational Interview.
Tip 1: Request for No More than Thirty Minutes
When navigating through an interview it is important to be gracious and respectful of the other person’s time by asking for no more than 30 minutes of their time. It is key to keep time on your mind during the interview. If it appears you are going to run over the initial allotted time, inform the person it looks like your time is just about to be up.
Tip 2: Prepare More Questions Than You Need
Before you enter into an informative interview you must prepare with more questions than you think you may need. It is always better to have too many than not enough. While you are doing your research on what they do and prioritize the question in order you like to ask them. It is important to be specific and focus on questions about their job, the company overall, and the industry.
Tip 3: Be Intentional When Deciding The Location
Deciding the location of an interview can be a very important factor of how successful it can be. You must use your best judgment and always meet the other persons’ convenience. Having an interview over a meal or coffee can often be too distracting and take up too much time. An interviewee may prefer to be in their own personal workspace and suggest having a video or a phone call.
Tip 4: Always Offer Up Your Resources
Be sure to ask the person that you are interviewing and learn from how you can be a help to them. Think of what you have to offer and share with them prior to the interview. Ask yourself, do you have a contact that you could share with them? By asking how you can support them and their future endeavors can give them an incentive to keep you connected.
Tip 5: Follow Up With The Person You Spoke To
Sending a thank you email within 24-48 hours after the meeting can leave a lasting positive impression. Take the extra step to personalize the message to include your personal biggest takeaway or action item from the conversation. Always be sure to express your gratitude and their time.
You may feel uncomfortable reaching out to people you don't know. However most people actually enjoy taking a few moments of their day to reflect on their professional life and give insight to someone interested in their field. Your informational interviews are not just there for one time advice, but can become a long term part of your professional network.