So you’ve done all your research and feel confident you have prepared effectively for your informational interview! Now what? During the actual informational interview, YOU drive the meeting, so don’t be afraid to take initiative and get started. The most important thing is to adhere to the time schedule you agreed upon with the individual when scheduling the meeting. If you both agreed the meeting would last thirty minutes, do not exceed this limit.
The following is a breakdown of how the meeting should proceed:
Step One: Introduction (1-2 Minutes)
- Introduce yourself, and explain how you know the person or were referred.
- Thank them for seeing you.
- Be clear that you are here to gather information and not to seek a job.
Step Two: Building the Relationship (10-15 minutes)
- Ask your questions.
- Make a personal connection with the person you are meeting with:
- Ask them what issues they face in their job.
- Find out what interests them in their professional life.
- Look for clues as to what interests them personally.
- Look for clues for follow-up:
- The person may say, “Please let me know in a month how you are doing and how I can help.” Remember to follow-up with this person if they indicate they would like you to do so. If you do not, this can result in damage to your professional relationship with this person. It will also make you look unprofessional.
- The person may say, “Please let me know when you find a position.”
Step Three: Ask for the Referral
- Ask if they could recommend other people you could have similar meetings with.
- Ask them if they have heard of any companies in the industry that are hiring?
Step Four: Conclusion
- Thank the person for their time.
- Summarize what you have agreed during the meeting.
- Example: Mr. X, thank you for agreeing to introduce me to Mr. Y. We agreed that I would not contact Mr. Y until you have made a call to him and sent me an email. I very much look forward to receiving that email from you!
My last post, The “Not an Interview” Interview: Part I ¬ The Preparation, shared insight into preparing yourself for an informational interview. A good primer for today’s post, last week discusses what you will gain from conducting informational interviews and some suggested questions to ask.
Next week: The Follow Up
Arpita Monahan is the Resource Centre Coordinator at our Saanich WorkBC Centre