The Informational Interview Everything You Need to Know

The Informational Interview Everything You Need to Know

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How to Prepare for An Informational Interview

Step 1: Find A Specific Person to Interview If you’re reading this, you may already have someone you’d like to interview in mind. If you’re hoping to find someone for the sake of expanding your network or learning about a role you’re interested in, start with research. Look up your “dream” companies and read through job titles. Then, conduct a quick 

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How to Prepare for An Informational Interview

internet search (we recommend digging through LinkedIn and Twitter) to learn more about this person's career path Step 2: Reach Out This can be the intimidating part, but don’t stress—we have a template for that. Now that you’ve thoroughly researched your interviewee, you should have a few tidbits of 

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How to Prepare for An Informational Interview

information that you can use when explaining why you’d like to meet with her for an informational interview. This makes a cold email feel much more personal and increases the likelihood that she’ll be willing to take the time to meet. Along the same lines, make sure you’re succinct when you communicate with this person. Assume that she's busy 

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How to Prepare for An Informational Interview

and realize that she's doing you a favor by taking the time to meet with you. (And keep track of time when you’re in the interview itself.) Step 3: Establish Your Goals Don’t go into this meeting unprepared. That would come across as unprofessional, and you want to make a great first impression here. Rather, 

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How to Prepare for An Informational Interview

before your interview, determine your learning objective for that particular meeting. The research you conducted about this person should help you tailor to their experiences. Step 4: Prepare your questions. This leads us to our final point. Prepare interview questions ahead of time so that you can 

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How to Prepare for An Informational Interview

keep the meeting on target, come across as professional, and show the person you’re interviewing that you've done your homework. To that end, let’s get those questions ready.

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15 Information Interview Questions to Ask

Informational Interview Question 1: Can You Tell Me About Your Professional Background? An informational interview is about them, not you, so this is always the best place to start. This will set the tone; they'll understand that you're here to learn from them.

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15 Information Interview Questions to Ask

Informational Interview Question 2: What Were Some of Your Earlier Roles in the Industry? You'll also want to include the follow-up question: what did you learn there that helps you today? This question is meant to help you get an idea of where you'll need to start if you're new to the field, but it's also a good way to learn more about how 

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15 Information Interview Questions to Ask

linear (or not) this person's career path was.

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15 Information Interview Questions to Ask

Informational Interview Question 3: What Does Your Typical Workday Look Like? This is the best chance you'll have to see what every day is like for the role you're interested in. If she says she's working 14-hour days and you're not interested in doing that, you can start looking into other roles.

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15 Information Interview Questions to Ask

Informational Interview Question 4: What Are Some Notable Projects You've Worked On? Projects are likely what will keep the job interesting, so you want to know what she's been working on. Plus, it will give you a good sense of the priorities of the role and company.

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15 Information Interview Questions to Ask

Informational Interview Question 5: What Do You Enjoy Most About Your Job? While this question is similar to #4, the answers may not be. What this person enjoys about her work could be completely unexpected. It's a great way to get her to open up more.

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15 Information Interview Questions to Ask

Informational Interview Question 6: What Do You Least Enjoy About Your Job? Sometimes, you'll get someone who is willing to get candid about the downsides of the job. An informational interview is, after all, a fairly informal conversation. Still, if the person starts to balk about talking about their least favorite element ("I really like everything 

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15 Information Interview Questions to Ask

I do"), you can shift the question to what surprised her instead. Most people have an answer for this.

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15 Information Interview Questions to Ask

Informational Interview Question 7: What Skills Are Most Important in Your Job? Take careful note of these, especially the ones you don't technically have. You'll want to use this information to fill gaps in your skillset before applying for similar jobs.

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15 Information Interview Questions to Ask

Informational Interview Question 8: Do You Think There's A Personality Not Well-Suited for This Career? As she's answering, try to be honest with yourself. If the role requires an "absolutely Type A" personality and you're a dreamer with a capital D, it might not be the right role for you.

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15 Information Interview Questions to Ask

Informational Interview Question 9: What Are the Biggest Challenges You Face? As you listen, do these challenges excite you? Or do they sound horrible? Pay attention to any red flags—like references to spending all her time working, "living" at the office, or having found "true family" in coworkers. While this isn't always a bad 

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15 Information Interview Questions to Ask

sign... it sort of usually is an indicator of a toxic workplace.

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15 Information Interview Questions to Ask

Informational Interview Question 10: What About the Biggest Rewards? The answer here might vary from emotional to monetary—so listen carefully and see if the answer gives you a "feel good" vibe.

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15 Information Interview Questions to Ask

Informational Interview Question 11: What Do You Wish You'd Known When Starting Out? This is one of those *dream* questions that feels scary to ask in a "real" interview setting, but it's perfect for an informational interview setting. When answered thoughtfully, this question will give you insights only typically 

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15 Information Interview Questions to Ask

achieved through real-life experience. Ask this question!

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15 Information Interview Questions to Ask

Informational Interview Question 12: Where Do You See Yourself in 5 or 10 Years? You know how people say something like if you can't see yourself in your boss's role, you should quit? You want this answer to align with your own goals. If you're hoping to stay long-term at a big company, you'll want to 

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15 Information Interview Questions to Ask

hear that she has the same plan. If you'd like to wind up working for yourself someday, it would be good to hear if that's something that she can see herself doing as well.

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15 Information Interview Questions to Ask

Informational Interview Question 13: Do You Recommend That I Speak With Anyone Else? If you're lucky, she'll introduce you to another contact. But it's also great to just hear what sites you should be reading or newsletters you should subscribe to. The goal is to have some ideas of what to read/do/try next.

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15 Information Interview Questions to Ask

Informational Interview Question 14: Are There Any Questions I Haven't Asked That I should be Asking? Love this question. Sometimes you've missed a big element of the work simply because you didn't ask in quite the right way. See what she says here.

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15 Information Interview Questions to Ask

Informational Interview Question 15: Would It Be Okay to Stay in Touch? Whether that's through LinkedIn or through an occasional email, it's always nice to turn an informational interview into an ongoing networking connection or (ideal scenario) a potential mentor.

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