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November 30, 2017
How To Set Up Effective Informational Interviews

If you are looking to make a career move, informational interviews are a great way to get the inside scoop before making your final decision. Informational interviews are one-on-one conversations with others who work in the job or industry you want to work in. They can:

  • Help you practice your interview skills

  • Help you make new networking connections

  • Learn what it’s really like to learn in the career or industry you are considering


However, it can be intimidating to reach out to professionals that you don’t know to ask for input on a job or industry. In fact, about 50% of our coaching clients don’t know how to conduct an effective informational interview. So we will outline a few tips below to make the process easy and effective. (To get a copy of our comprehensive, step by step process to conducting informational interviews, contact us here [admin@halliecrawford.com] to request a copy of our webinar on this topic which gives you everything you need to know to make them work for you.)


Start with people you know. Before you start writing LinkedIn connections you haven’t met in person, consider if those you already know can help you. Think about:

  • Friends and Family

  • Alumni Associations

  • Social Groups


Starting with those you know to identify possible contacts is a great way to start to get your feet wet. Identify 3 people that you would like to interview.


Make contact. Start by sending an email to the professionals you would like to interview. Identify yourself and give them a little background information. Let them know that you are interested in information, not a job. Suggest a few days and times to meet either in person or via Skype.


Follow up. If you don’t receive a reply to your email after five business days, try to contact them by phone. You will want to remind them of the email, how you got their information (if a distant contact) and that you are looking for a brief conversation. Keep in mind that not everyone will say yes, so be realistic and respectful.


Prepare. If they say yes, it it helpful to send 4-5 questions in advance to give your candidate time to think about the answers. For example, you could ask the following:

  • What are some of the trends in this field?

  • What are some of the challenges?

  • What does a typical day on the job consist of?

  • What do you like best and least about what you do?


Once you have decided on and sent your questions, make sure to only ask those questions. However, choose 2-3 extra questions in case the person you are interviewing says they have a few more minutes.

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Guest Blogger Hallie Crawford is a certified career coach and founder of HallieCrawford.com. Her team of coaches help people find their dream job and make it a reality. She is regularly featured as an expert in the media including the Wall Street Journal, CNN, and US News & World Report. Visit her website at www.HallieCrawford.com for more information about her team's career coaching services. Set up a Complimentary Career Strategy Session with Hallie Crawford to get advice on your career goals. *Mention you saw us on Talent Zoo and receive a free bonus if you purchase a product or sign up for coaching.* http://www.HallieCrawford.com
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