5 Rules To Remember For An Informational Interview

An informational interview is not the same as a job interview. It is characterized as a short meeting held with someone that is very much like a mentor, or an individual who may have connections or influence with other people in your field or industry. Related: How To Conduct An Effective Informational Interview Anyone willing to offer you an informational interview is there to help address your questions, provide advice on how to enter or advance in a particular field of work, and offer opinions on companies in the industry. They may even help direct you to the right contacts for job opportunities.


5 Rules To Remember For An Informational Interview

As you are the one asking for help, there are rules to remember when you request and conduct an informational interview.

1. Make it clear you are not asking them for a job.

People are more willing to take time to speak with you if you make it clear upfront that you want to meet for advice and not to ask for a job. Remember to approach the meeting with that in mind, and not turn around directly asking them for a job.

2. Limit the meeting to less than 30 minutes.

Everyone’s time is valuable. The interviewer is taking time out of their busy schedule to help you, so make good use of the time.

3. Ask for advice.

The interviewer doesn’t know exactly what he/she can help you with unless you ask. Seek out advice to any questions you have. For example:
  • “What do employers look for in a job candidate in the field of XYZ?”
  • “Where are the best places to find job opportunities in XYZ?"
  • “What are some of the challenged to working in….?”
  • “What type of training or education is needed to continue to advance in this profession?”
  • “How did you get into….?”
  • “What do you like about working in….?”

4. Let the interviewer do most of the talking.

Your mission in this meeting is to gather as much information and insight as possible to help you with your job search and career. Seek for the interviewer’s experience and thoughts opposed to focusing most of the talk about yourself.

5. Get introduced.

If you have established a comfortable and ongoing relationship with this contact, ask if they know of any contacts they can introduce you to. Referrals can help get you in front of the right contacts for job opportunities more quickly. Don’t be surprised if a contact from an informational interview becomes a life-long mentor. These people can be there to help you throughout your career, so express appreciation and thanks at the interview and also follow up with a note afterwards.

Related Posts

3 Rules For Effective Informational Interviewing 3 Tips For Acing An Informational Interview 5 Things Every Employer Wants To Hear In An Interview

About the author

Don Goodman’s firm was rated as the #1 Resume Writing Service in 2013, 2014, and 2015. Don is a triple-certified, nationally recognized Expert Resume Writer, Career Management Coach and Job Search Strategist who has helped thousands of people secure their next job. Check out his Resume Writing Service. Get a Free Resume Evaluation or call him at 800.909.0109 for more information.   Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

If you saw our first video, you might have heard about the awkward situation one of our viewers, Diane submitted. She has recently worked with a co-worker on a group project. When it came time to present the project at a meeting, Diane let her co-worker present. While it went great, the co-worker proceed to take credit for nearly all of Diane's work. Frustrating to say the least!

SHOW MORE Show less

In this week's episode of "Well This Happened", we want to know what you would do if your co-worker took credit for the work you did...right in front of your colleagues AND boss!

We want YOU to be the career coach and tell us which one is the RIGHT answer!

Think you know? Vote below, and stay tuned for later this week when we announce the right answer (and why the other ones are wrong).

SHOW MORE Show less

If you saw our first video, you might have heard about the awkward situation one of our viewers, Cam submitted. He's been working at a job for awhile, but recently overheard a hiring manager making fun of a candidate with autism right after an interview-not only awkward, but VERY unprofessional!

SHOW MORE Show less

In this week's episode of "Well This Happened", we want to know what you would do if witnessed a hiring manager at your organization making fun of a candidate who they had just interviewed who had autism.

We want YOU to be the career coach and tell us which one is the RIGHT answer!

Think you know? Vote below, and stay tuned for later this week when we announce the right answer (and why the other ones are wrong).

SHOW MORE Show less

Starting a family is one of the biggest milestones in a person's life. It's in those first few months when a parent can really bond with their newborn and make lifelong memories. However, for some new dads, it can be difficult to juggle being a new parent while remaining dedicated to their career.

Fortunately, some companies have generous paternity leave policies that give new dads the ability to take time off of work to stay home with their child.

SHOW MORE Show less

There are LOTS of questions around resume dos and don'ts. There's so much advice out there that it can be overwhelming to try and figure out what's the correct answer.

During our weekly live Office Hours on YouTube, two of our coaches, Ariella Coombs and J.T. O'Donnell, answer questions live from viewers related to their job search, career success, on the job situations and more.

We complied a simple list of what we find to be the most common questions our coaches get about resumes. We hope you find this helpful.

Let's start with the basics...

SHOW MORE Show less

Back in March, we made the hard decision to change our private Facebook group of over 37 THOUSAND members to a fee-based only platform.

SHOW MORE Show less

In this week's episode of "Well This Happened", we want to know what you would do if a recruiter called you a day EARLY for your phone interview (and you were NOT PREPARED!)

We want YOU to be the career coach and tell us which one is the RIGHT answer!

Think you know? Vote below, and stay tuned for later this week when we announce the right answer (and why the other ones are wrong).

SHOW MORE Show less