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Informational Interviewing

Informational interviewing is a networking technique that is beneficial when you are a college student starting a new career or a professional thinking about a job or career change. Informational interviewing is an excellent way to explore careers and determine what’s right for you.

Once you’ve identified someone you’d like to interview, decide whether to ask to conduct the interview over the phone, through e-mail or in person. Face-to-face interviews are by far the most valuable and effective. Ask for 20-30 minutes of your prospective interviewee’s time.

  • Before going to the informational interview, research the company. This will enhance the quality of informational interviews.
  • Decide if and how you will record information, such as on a small notepad or tape recorder. (Be sure to obtain your interviewee’s permission before you tape.)
  • Dress for success—dress the same way you would for a job interview
  • Update and take your resume. The interviewee may ask for a copy. You may even consider asking the interviewee to take a look at your resume to see if he or she can offer any suggestions for making the resume a more effective tool for obtaining a job in this field or company.
  • Prepare a list of questions.
  • Do not, repeat DO NOT go into the interview with any thought that this is a job interview. You are there to glean information ONLY. If the interviewee shows interest in you as a job candidate, do, of course, be receptive if you’re interested.
  • Arrive on time for the interview and greet your interviewee with a moderately firm handshake and an enthusiastic smile.
  • Listen keenly and absorb your surroundings. Project enthusiasm and show your personality.
  • Do end the interview when you promised to (though sometimes the interviewee will want to keep talking).
  • Ask for the interviewee’s business card and ask if you can stay in touch.
  • Thank the interviewee (and do so again later in writing).

Information used by permission fromIndiana University-Southeast

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