Do you want to learn more about the career paths that interest you but don’t know how?
Gather valuable, industry-specific information from a professional through an INFORMATION INTERVIEW.
Information interviewing is not interviewing for a job, but rather a way for you to gain valuable insights into your career area of interest, that would otherwise be difficult to find in books or on the internet. The insights you gain will allow you to make more informed decisions, whether you are planning your career or looking for a job.
Why Conduct an Information Interview?
- Get a reality check about what a career actually entails
- Gain insider tips on education, skills and experience needed
- Learn how to market yourself for your job search
- Build contacts and develop knowledge of the industry
5 steps for an Information Interview
1. Find Contacts:
Ask around! (Network). Possible sources for contacts include:
- Professors, friends, family and neighbours
- The Career Centre Resource library: Check out the NETWORKING BINDER filled with
a list of professionals willing to speak with students. In addition our collection of
PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS and COMPANY DIRECTORIES can help you in
2. Do Your Research:
- Make a good impression by finding out as much as you can about the career area in advance. Click here to check out our resources and links.
- Investigate your contact’s organization and industry. Research things such as the organizational structure or specific occupations represented in the company.
3. Formulate Questions:
- Incorporate some of the research you have done into your questions to structure your interview to obtain more detailed answers.
- Try and ask open ended questions, not ones that will elicit simply a yes or no.
- Check out our sample questions for ideas
4. Arrange the Interview:
- Call your contact and explain that you are preparing to make some career decisions by researching potential occupations.
- Leave a good impression by being courteous, punctual, prepared and informed (your name could be passed along for hiring at a later date)
- Dress appropriately and professionally (e.g. business casual)
5. Interview Tips:
- If you are nervous, practice interviewing someone you know.
- Pay close attention to how long the conversation has been (many professionals are very busy and have limited time)
- Thank the contact and send a follow-up thank you.
- Do NOT ask to submit a resume, as the purpose is to gain information (however, if the employer requests you can provide one)
Remember: While an Information Interview is more formal than a regular conversation, it is not as formal as a job interview. Most people enjoy talking about their careers and are eager to help!