Wednesday, 11 March 2015

The Basics Of A Successful Informational Interview

(ActiveJobSeekers, 2014)
While we are familiar with Informational interviewing being  used for scoping out individuals work ideas, it is also extremely useful for checking out potential customers, suppliers or collaborators to see if the feel of the company being interviewed is 'right' for your organisation.

Steve Landry, Canadian Career Practitioner, posted some great advice on informational interviewing on a LinkedIn group which I follow, Collaborative Career Conversations. Steve was kind enough to let me repeat his post here.

Following is a great article from Forbes Writer Susan Adams on the importance of conducting a strategically planned informational interview.

Remember, the reason you're connecting with someone is not to take up as much time as you can, nor expect that they will get you a job at their company, or fold under pressure to feel sorry for you and over extend themselves, making them feel uncomfortable in the process.

"Read as much as you can about the company so you can avoid asking questions like, “who are your clients,” when the clients are listed on the company website. Find the interviewee’s bio on the company website or through LinkedIn. Check out Facebook, Twitter and other social media."

By doing your research ahead of time, you will begin to understand things like: who are the organizations' stakeholders, what is their focus (mission statement, values and key stakeholders responsible for their history)?

"...You shouldn't pivot and turn an informational interview into a bid for a job, she says you should always network by asking if the interviewee can recommend another contact."

Show genuine interest in the person you are meeting with, and start the conversation by explaining briefly your intent, and err on the side of not taking up too much of their time (ultimately, what I have found is that if you start by asking for a few minutes of their time, it will end up paying off to a very generous offering of their time).

I really love Susan's list.....she has captured some real gems, that will enable you or the job seeker you are working with, to really prepare well for the Informational Interview and get maximum value through the exchange.

Here's the first 5 on the list, there are 25 more for you to check out:
  1. Tell me about the career path that led you to your job. Caveat: Try to glean information from Linked in or the company website and ask a more specific question, like, I understand you’re from Des Moines and you worked in sales there. How did you wind up working in advertising in New York?
  2. Tell me about your job. What are the core components?
  3. What did you do yesterday?
  4. What experiences best prepared you for your job?
  5. Tell me what happens in various divisions of your agency, like the client side, the finance side, the media buying side, the creative side.
Hope this was helpful for you. I know this is will be one of my diamond resources in my tool kit to share with my job seekers.


  • ActiveJobSeekers (2014). Get Back to Work: Informational Interview. Retrieved 12 March 2015 from
  • Adams, Susan (2015). 30 Questions To Ask In An Informational Interview. Retrieved 11 March 2015 from
  • Landry, Stephen J. (2015). The Basics Of A Successful Informational Interview. Retrieved 12 March 2015 from

1 comment :

  1. Thanks for sharing fabulous information on related to career. It's my pleasure to read related to search jobs .I have also bookmarked you for checking out new posts.


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