An informational or research interview is a meeting in which you talk to people who are engaged in work that is of interest to you, or relevant to your career direction. Informational interviews are less stressful than regular job interviews because the focus is on information gathering rather than employment. Your real goal is to illuminate the path ahead of you, not to focus on training or job openings.
After you briefly introduce yourself, the conversation should focus on them: their position, their background, their career trajectory, their advice. Once your questions are answered, return the focus to yourself and ask questions about potential contacts.
This type of interviewing offers many benefits.
You are the one in control. You can ask questions that may not be strategic during a first job interview, such as questions about salary, work/family balance, and vacation. Sample questions include the following:
Remember at the end to thank the person for his or her time and advice and be specific about what you found valuable. Also ask to keep in touch. Once you are home, be sure to send a thank you note.
Last Updated July 03, 2013
Last Reviewed July 03, 2013