Successful young colleagues having negotiation at the working desk in officeInformational interviews are a low-pressure, highly productive way to learn about a field, get career advice, build your network and hone your interviewing skills. They are an opportunity for you to talk with professionals about their career path, profession, organization and industry. These conversations can take place via phone or email, but it’s much more fruitful when conducted in person.

Steps To An Informational Interview

  • Step 1— Locate the people you want to meet
    Search for emerging, mid-career and established professionals in roles or organizations that interest you. Recent graduates that are emerging in their careers have first-hand knowledge about existing pathways. Mid-level and advanced professionals have large networks and can share their views about how industries are changing. LinkedIn is an excellent place to find professionals whose pathways align with your passions.
  • Step 2— Make contact
    Send a brief message asking for an informational interview. Be concise and friendly. Make sure your request is reasonable—acknowledge their busy schedule, ask for an hour at most (or 30 minutes, which can easily expand to an hour once you meet), and offer to meet at their convenience, including outside business hours such as early morning.
  • Step 3— Be prepared
    After scheduling a time to meet, prepare some questions. Remember, people like to talk about themselves so this should be fun for both of you! Some great conversation starters include:

    • What attracted you to this type of work?
    • What are the most challenging and most rewarding aspects of your current role?
    • What skills, qualities and experiences does your employer seek in new hires?
    • What trends are you seeing currently in your profession?
    • Given what we have talked about today, are there other people you’d recommend I connect with?


  • Step 4— Follow up with thanks!
    A working professional who has taken the time to meet with you for an informational interview has done you a wonderful favor. Be sure to follow up with a heartfelt thanks in an email or handwritten personal note.