How to Ask for an Informational Interview

Asking For An Informational Interview

Sometimes the word interview can be daunting. You’re just asking for a conversation, an informational discussion about their career, or positions they have held at their company. You could begin with “I’m looking at a career change,” “… a career pivot,” or “I just graduated,” whatever your situation is. “I’m seeking more information and I believe you could provide great insight.” Just ask. People want to help and are generally flattered to be asked.

Asking For An Informational Interview Via Email

During your job search process, you’re going to be reaching out to a number of people to gather as much information as you can around a position and a company. Email is the best way to connect because you can organize your thoughts to ask for exactly what you want. How to ask for an informational interview can be scary. When asking for an informational interview, indicate you are going through a job search process and gathering information. You’re interested in learning about their role, their company, their career path, whatever it is that that person can provide you.

Make sure you’re clear about what type of meeting you’re asking for, in-person, on the phone, Zoom call, or video call. Include a few of the questions you would like to address. “What is your career path?” “What have been your experiences at this company?” Acknowledge that people are busy by giving a time limit, perhaps 30 minutes. Include a signature on your email, including your phone number and a link to your LinkedIn profile. Also, I would recommend attaching your resume so they can see your background before the interview.

How To Start An Informational Interview

The first thing is to thank them. “Thank you. I know you’re busy. I appreciate you taking the time for this interview. I’m interested in your insights and your perspectives.” Set a positive tone for the rest of the interview by thanking them first and acknowledging their time commitment.

“Do you have any questions for me before we get started?” This is usually where they might ask about your background. If they don’t ask about your background, give it to them as a starting point. Then jump right in. “As I emailed you, I have three topics I’d like to address. I’m currently thinking about changing my career. I’m at this point . . .” Then ask your questions.

What To Ask In An Informational Interview

You are looking to capture as much information as you can about career paths, day-to-day activities, challenges that are faced in the organization or the role, qualifications, and skills that are necessary to be successful. That’s what you should be asking about. “What does it mean to be an actuary in this insurance company?” “What are the career paths available to you?” Think about the information you need to be able to decide if you want to go into that role in this or a similar company. You’re gathering information about culture, capability, and progression.

Increasing Your Chances For A Job Interview or Getting Connected With A Hiring Manager

As part of the wrap-up of any informational interview, be open and upfront about what you’re asking for. You increase your chances by actually asking how you can be included in the interview process. Navigating the interview process is difficult and it’s different in every company, so ask.

If you don’t ask, they may not know that you’re interested; they may think you are simply seeking information. Also, ask if they would be open to connecting via LinkedIn and if they’d be open to you updating them occasionally during your job search process. It’s just asking for what you want and doing it professionally, being cognizant of their role in the company and not being overly assertive or aggressive with that ask.

Subject Line To Use When Asking For 30 Minutes Of A Person’s Time

People are more likely to open emails and respond to informational interview requests, especially if they’re cold calls, using a subject line seeking their advice and counsel. People like to feel they are important enough to give advice and counsel.