How To Conduct An Informational Interview
It may take courage to arrange your first informational interview.
Not everyone is comfortable with this research method. Remember,
the results will be worth every bit of courage it takes. Consider
the factors below in conducting an informational interview:
Decide what job or field of work you want to learn about
Identify people to interview
Start with lists of people you already know - friends, relatives,
present or former co-workers, and supervisors that are in
positions. Professional organizations, the yellow pages, and
organizational directories are also good resources. You can
call a business
and ask for the name of the person who is in charge of the
unit, division, department, or the occupation that you want
Prepare for the interview
Read all you can about the job before going to the interview.
Decide what information is important to know about the job
work area and prepare a list of questions that you would
like to have answered. Make sure you have the questions down
on a piece of paper and take them with you to the interview.
Set up the interview
Contact the person by telephone or by letter followed by a phone
call to set up the time and place of the interview. Not all interviews
will occur face-to-face, some will occur over the phone. Be prepared!
Do not present yourself in a way that the person assumes you are
looking for a job interview. Ask to meet with the person for only
15 to 30 minutes at that person’s convenience.
Do the interview
Dress suitably, arrive on time, and be polite and professional.
In short, prepare the same as you would for an actual job interview.
The person you are seeing is doing you a favour so be respectful
of his/her time. Refer to your list of prepared questions. Stay
on track, but don't be afraid to let the conversation flow or
ask follow-up questions. Keep notes during the interview. Do
not stay one minute longer than the time you asked for. Before
leaving, ask the person to suggest names of others who might
be able to provide you with more information. Always ask permission
to use your contact's name when approaching these new people.