The phrase “informational interviews” might sound intimidating, but really they’re just conversations you arrange with people who work in the field you’re interested in. Informational interviews are a quick and easy way to explore potential career pathways and solicit advice from professionals in the field. In addition, when you set up informational interviews with people in your field of interest, you’re building a network that you can utilize later — for job opportunities, shadowing opportunities when COVID restrictions lessen, and more.
Some FAQs about Informational Interviewing
Q: When should I start conducting informational interviews?
A: It’s never too late or too early to start! You can coordinate informational interviews throughout your college career, and well into your career beyond college! Your questions will likely shift as your personal goals and interests change over time.
Q: How should I prepare for the interview?
A: The primary goal is to come ready to drive the interview with your questions. Make sure you have your questions ready, and try to focus your questions on gathering insights and advice; you don’t want them to feel like you’re expecting a job offer. It’s also helpful to do some internet research on the person you’re interviewing to help guide your question development. Be ready to talk about yourself if asked, too! Business casual is the typical attire for informational interviews.
Q: How and where should I expect the informational interview to happen?A: Over the phone or using video chat is often the easiest, especially during the pandemic. Reach out to your intended interviewee and plan on your conversation going for about 30 minutes. Make sure to be respectful of their time — they’re doing you a favor, so be careful not to go over the allotted time.
Q: Speaking of reaching out: Help! How do I do that?
A: Find the contact information of the person you’re interested in interviewing, and send them an email. In your message, you should introduce yourself and express your interest in their field. If you have a personal or Lawrence-related connection to them, or were recommended to seek them out by a mutual acquaintance, make sure to mention that. Then, indicate that you are reaching out to ask about their availability for a short informational interview to learn more about their professional journey. The Viking Connect website is a great way to find alumni Lawrentians who are eager to connect with current students!