Informational interviews are the most common and effective type of networking.
- Provide an opportunity for you to ask general questions about a particular career field, about the employer and the company culture, about your contact’s job or career path, and about career advice and referrals.
- Often lead to referrals—other contacts within a given industry, and sometimes these referrals result in job leads.
- Are a tool for acquiring information you would not find in print or on the Web.
Do NOT ask an individual from whom you've requested an informational interview for a job!
Before requesting informational interviews, you should complete some self-assessment exercises. This includes identifying your skills, values, and interests. Self-assessment may help you to frame your career interests and questions.
One way to become comfortable with the process of informational interviewing is by practicing on a topic unrelated to your job search. For example, you might conduct a series of interviews on a new hobby or on an expensive item that you are planning to buy.
Small vs. Large Companies
When researching an industry, begin your investigation with small or less well-known companies since the larger and well-known companies are frequently approached and have grown weary of these requests.
Senior- and Mid-Level Managers vs. Entry-Level Associates
When researching a particular organization, begin your series of interviews with people who have less authority and then advance to those who are more powerful and influential.
Always send a thank you letter or email immediately after an informational interview.
Guidelines for Writing Thank You Letters (PDF)
Sample Informational Interview Questions (PDF)
Networking and Informational Interviewing Guidelines (PDF)