An Informational Interview is a meeting you arrange with a person whose job interests you. Depending on the questions asked, you could acquire current facts about specific occupations. These facts should help you sort out career options and make decisions and plans toward a career goal.
- Telephone your potential contact.
- Have someone who knows a potential contact make an appointment for you.
- Write a letter requesting a meeting.
- Stop by a business in the industry of your interest and request an appointment.
- You can discover what skills are required for certain jobs and match them with your abilities.
- The person you talk with may serve as a valuable job contact in the future.
- The knowledge you gain about the field could make you an impressive candidate once you decide to pursue a particular occupation.
- Because you direct the interview, you may develop self-confidence and valuable interviewing skills.
When you go to the interview, you must be ready to ask several meaningful questions. Much of the success of your interview depends on the careful planning and writing of your questions. The employer will be more at ease if you are well prepared. The following questions are some examples of what you might ask during the interview:
- How did you first become interested in this career?
- Describe your experience during an average workday.
- What skills do you most often use on the job?
- What do you like/dislike about your profession?
- What courses or training have been most helpful?
- What can a person do to get a head start in learning (job title)?
- What personal qualities are necessary to succeed in this field?
- What is the opportunity for advancement?
- What salary can someone expect to make who is just starting out?
- What are the important areas for future development in this career?
- What recommendations would you make to someone entering the field?
- Would it be possible to arrange a tour of the facility?
Get ready to complete the interview after 15-20 minutes unless the employer asks you to stay. At the beginning of the interview, tell the employer that you know he/she is busy. Tell the employer that you appreciate his/her time and will only stay 15 minutes or so. Always be sure to thank the employer for his/her time. It is important to also send a thank-you note to each employer a few days later.
If you use the telephone to contact people and set up appointments, remember to identify yourself, state your purpose and ask for an appointment with the appropriate person. This straightforward approach is generally effective.
"Hello, Mr. Jones, my name is Diane Smith from the Community College of RI. I’m doing some research in the accounting field and I’d like to stop by at your convenience to ask you a few questions. It will only take 15-20 minutes of your time. When would be a good time for us to meet?"
"Hello, this is ____. This morning I talked with ____ about the opportunities in ____. He/She spoke very highly of you and said you were an expert in this field. I’m calling to ask if you are available to spend 15-20 minutes to talk to me about this field. If so, when would be a convenient time for you?"