Once you’ve arranged a meeting with your interviewee, it’s a great idea to thoroughly research your subject, and the company they represent. Check LinkedIn for background information about your subject and for information about the company itself on their about us page. It is also a good idea to monitor any social media efforts they have including: their company website and blog, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and any articles about the company that have been published. It’s also a great idea to make sure you’re up-to-date and knowledgeable about current industry news and trends. Once you’ve finished your research, you’ll be ready for the next step.
When you go into your informational interview, whether it’s by telephone or in-person, it’s important to think of some questions to ask your subject during the meeting. While some questions should come up organically, you’ll want to write down some general questions that express your interest in your subject, their career trajectory, and their company. Here are some ideas:
1. How did you get your start?
2. What are some of your daily responsibilities?
3. What are the best parts of working in the industry? What are some of the more challenging aspects?
4. What advice do you have to give about working in this industry and the job search itself?
5. What type of preparation, skills, and experience does your company look for in potential employees?
6. What are some of the projects you’re currently working on?
Concluding the Interview
At the end of your interview, it is important to ask your subject if they know anybody else you might be able to speak to. Leveraging their network to continue to build your own is expected, and your subject should be more than happy to oblige. By connecting with your subject’s recommended contacts, you’ll have an even better chance of landing your ideal job at their company. Remember to always thank your subject for their time and update them frequently (monthly or so) about your professional progress as well as any other meetings you’ve had with people they’ve recommended you meet with.
Informational interviews are essential to networking because they help you find out what working in your chosen field is actually like. They also help you build relationships with people who can help you professionally. Use these opportunities to find out as much as you can about your subject and chosen field. By conducting informational interviews often, you’ll become a more confident networker, and you’ll increase your chances of getting an ideal job.