Career Corner: Informational Interview Tips

Posted by on March 16, 2012

Jessica Bauer, Director of Career Services at the Brooklyn Center Campus, shares these tips for those looking to get a foot in the door with any company.  She says to consider an Informational Interview.
Informational Interviews provide the opportunity to shift the typical question answer session in their favor.  Any person can partake in an informational interview by simply asking to meet with a person of interest.  Typically it is best to perform an informational interview with someone who has an interesting career, similar career goals, or is in a position with a company you would like to work for. Informational interviews can be done over the phone, email or in person.  Once the interview is complete, a new connection is made and possibly a future job offer.

Keep in Mind:

  1. An informational interview is your first impression with that person and their company
  2. Be professional throughout the entire process, proper email, phone and overall etiquette
  3. Return the favor in some manner

Successful Process for an Informational Interview

  1. Be prepared
    1. Do your research on the company
    2. The Individual – their interests, work history,
      all other pertinent information that could come in handy during the interview
    3. Dress appropriately – business attire
    4. Bring your resume
      1. Although it isn’t an official interview, it could turn out to be one
      2. Have the resume on resume paper
      3. Make sure you have had it read through by some one
      4. Arrive early – at least 15 minutes
        1. Greet the receptionist warmly, say you have an appointment with ________
        2. Introduce you self to the person, firm hand shake
        3. It is OK to be nervous
        4. Have your questions prepared – it is OK to bring a list
          1. Ask Questions that you really want the answer to, not ones easily found
          2. Ask questions to get a feel of the occupation or company you are interested in
          3. Take notes – keep eye contact but write down details and refer to them if necessary
          4. Be a good listener, allow the individual to talk
          5. Maintain proper, open and professional body language
          6. If you have asked for only 20 minutes stick to it, be polite and aware of their time
          7. Ask the person if there is anyone else you should connect with, or that they recommend you speak to
          8. Send a Thank you note within 24 hours of the interview.
          9. Review your notes- assess how you feel about the position, the person and the company
            1. Take your notes and review them, rewrite them, keep them
            2. Repeat this process for all interviews
            3. Stay in contact with the individual; send them updates every 3 months.
              1. Use them – if there is a position open, connect with them
              2. If you have valuable information for them, share it.

Stay tuned for more tips from the Career Services Department!

Thank you for your Interest in Minnesota School of Business.