The Art of Informational Interviewing

Informational interviewing seems to be one of those activities that students and job seekers misunderstand. While it possibly could lead to an actual job interview, and it is a way to expand one’s network, placing these goals above the primary goal of informational interviewing undermines the potential power of this “tool” for informing career decisions.

Whether you’re teaching about informational interviewing to a class, creating a handout on informational interviewing, or helping a client prep for an informational interview, the following tools might be useful.

A guide on job shadowing and informational interviewing (from @FSUCareerCenter). Want more questions? Here’s a few places:

There are plenty of videos out there on the do’s and don’ts of informational interviewing, like this one:

Informational interviews can happen formally or informally. Formally, a person would use an existing network or cold call a person who has information on the career field or specific occupation or company in interest, do as much research beforehand as possible, and formulate well-informed questions. Informally, we are always doing informal informational interviews. We ask people about what their day was like, what was the most interesting or surprising thing that happened during the day, their preferences for this and that, their favorite places to eat, shop, visit, live. Learning to be curious about the lives of others and to routinely ask questions will enhance understanding about the world of work and increase confidence and competence in informational interviewing conversations.

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