An informational interview is a brief meeting between a candidate who wants to know more about a career and a person working in that particular field. As an audio transcription service provider for diverse businesses, we understand how useful this type of interview is for a jobseeker. The candidate can understand what the job is like, what the responsibilities are, and what it would be like to work in that organization. How can a candidate find the right people to speak with? They can contact friends, family and acquaintances to find out if they know anyone in the industry sector they are interested in and can make a connection. Or they can try following up with people they may have met during job fairs or networking events.

Informational Interview

The first thing you have to do to conduct an informational interview is to make a list of companies you would like to work for and job titles or positions you are interested in. Also consider what the person does at the company and the size of the company. If you want to work for a particular company, then try using LinkedIn to request an informational interview and then reach out over email. Also, follow up with people you met during networking events or job fairs.

The key benefits of informational interview are it helps gain valuable career information, get tips and advice that will help you strengthen your application, acquire information about the realities of working in a particular occupation, focus on career goals, discover your professional strengths and weaknesses, know about the skills that are needed for a position or field, better understand the company or industry culture and your potential fit, establish a professional contact with a person in a field of interest, and learn about jobs that have not been advertised yet. An informational interview gives the opportunity to build self-confidence and improve your ability to handle a job interview.

Useful Questions to Ask at an Informational Interview

There are many questions you can ask at the informational interview and taking notes during the process is advisable. A limited amount of note-taking is justified so long as your contact agrees and it does not interrupt the communication. During the interview, you should ask questions that go beyond what you could find out through a quick online search. Ask the person about their journey to this position, for a description of their day-to-day responsibilities, and for tips. Once the interview is over, you need to sketch out a brief outline of the topics covered and the information you discovered. This takes only a few minutes, and will ensure that you remember the important points discussed. Later, you can construct a more detailed report of the interview, working from your outline. Here are expert suggestions on some good questions to ask during an informational interview:

  • Are there any common misconceptions people have about this job?
  • What are the pros and cons of working in a big firm (A) versus a small firm (B)?
  • What categories of people do well in this field and are there types who do not?
  • Is there anything I specifically need to know about the hours/the culture (or other aspects) at the firm?
  • What kind of research should I do to learn about the field?
  • What kind of starting salary can I expect?
  • What duties are performed during a typical day, week, month, and year?
  • How long do people stay in a role like X before moving up?
  • Why people leave this field and where they are going when they do?
  • What are your suggestions for skills I should focus on developing or other ways I might be able to strengthen myself as a candidate?
  • What are the important keywords or buzz words that can be included in a resume or cover letter when job hunting in the field?
  • What are the most important, personal characteristics for success in the field?

Each interview should be regarded as a business appointment and conduct yourself in a professional manner. You should show professionalism, character, emotional intelligence, and rapport-building during the meeting. You should remember the appointment time and appear promptly for your interview. Do not dress too casually or be overdressed. It may be appropriate to wear regular business attire. You must know the name of the person you are meeting, the correct pronunciation of his or her name, and the title of his other position. Do some research on the person and their company and come with questions and be prepared to steer the conversation. Be considerate of the person’s time and keep the conversation brief. Be ready to answer all the questions your contact might ask you.

Write a thank you note after the meeting to the people you have interviewed. If you have followed up on any suggestions, report back to them. Building a strong rapport with career contacts will help enhance the likelihood that they will offer assistance with your job search.

Candidates who are conducting these types of interviews can choose reliable interview transcription services from a leading company to transcribe any recordings they may have made.