By Sebastian Leung
What is an Informational Interview?
We’ve all been to job interviews before, internship interviews, or at the very least we’ve heard of interviews before and know what they are. But many of us probably have never heard of an informational interview. So what exactly are they?
An informational interview is an interview in which you try to obtain information about someone’s industry, their position, or their company. There are a few key differences between a job interview and an informational interview. Here are two.
Firstly, you are not trying to get a job during an informational interview. Instead, the goal is to get information.
Secondly, in an informational interview, you are the interviewer, asking the questions instead of answering them.
Informational interviews can be truly helpful if you want to explore a new field, learn about a company, or even make meaningful, professional connections.
How do I obtain an Informational Interview?
Generally, you can request an informational interview by emailing the person you’d like to be interviewed by.
The email generally begins with you introducing yourself, explaining a bit about who you are. Next, you should simply ask for what you want – but not too bluntly. Ask the person you are contacting for a little bit of their time to discuss the industry or the company. And finally, explain to them why you are interested in interviewing them. Be sure to end the email by thanking the person for their time.
Here are a few things to consider while writing your email.
Look for commonalities to include in your introduction.
- Say something like “I noticed you went to my alma mater”, or “I noticed you went to the same business conference I did.”
- Be flexible in what you ask. Don’t be demanding – request a realistic time that isn’t too long, but is enough for you to ask all the questions you want to ask. Additionally, be sure the location is convenient to the person you are interviewing.
- Be clear about why you want an interview. Saying something like “I would like to learn more about your company” is alright but mentioning specifically why you are reaching out to them is important. Remember, you are not asking for a job but for information.
The Benefits of an Informational Interview
- With an informational interview, you can determine whether or not you truly like a certain professional field without having to work in it first.
- You can also use informational interviews to learn about specific companies and whether or not it is an environment you’d like to work in.
- Informational interviews help you expand your network to form new connections with other professionals.
- You get to ask the questions you want to ask!
- Different templates for different scenarios
- 3 Steps to the perfect Informational Interview
- The Art of the Informational Interview
Still need help connecting with someone for an informational interview? Email Gianina Chrisman at Gianina.Chrisman@mhc.cuny.edu or Jamie Ruden at Jamie.Ruden@mhc.cuny.edu to make an appointment.
Interested in writing a blog for the Career Development blog? It’s open to Macaulay students and alums. If you would like to contribute or have any questions, feel free to email Jamie.Ruden@mhc.cuny.edu.