Interested in a particular career path or a specific occupation? The information interview is a research tool for finding out more by talking to people in an occupation or career area.
Information interviews are often done by telephone, but some people may prefer to meet you face to face.
An information interview should never be used to sell yourself in order to get a job. All you want is information, so you can relax and enjoy the conversation.
The information interview allows you to collect information tailor-made to your specific needs.
People who do information interviews say that they can often result in unexpected job information and opportunities down the road.
You probably have an idea what career or occupation you want to research. If you don't know anyone working in these areas:
Try to get as much background information on the career/occupation before you start interviewing. Check out your local library or do a Web search.
Approach A: "Hello, my name is____________, and I understand that you are a (or work as a) __________________. I'm currently exploring this career/occupation as a possibility for the future. I wonder if I could take about 10 minutes of your time to find out more about what you do (your career field)."
Approach B: "Hello, my name is____________. A mutual acquaintance, __________________, suggested I give you a call. He/she said you would be the right person to talk to about working in your career field (occupation). Would you be able to talk to me now? I only need about 15 minutes of your time."
Approach C: "Hello, my name is____________ and I understand that you are a (or work as a) ______________. I'm looking for advice about entering your career field (occupation). Could I take a few minutes of your time to find out what you would say to someone who wanted to get into your line of work?"
Chances are, not everyone will be willing to help you, but that doesn't mean it's time to quit. Try these responses:
Worker: "I'm too busy right now to talk to you."
You: "Thank you for your time. Could you recommend anyone else to speak to?"
Worker: "I'd like to help you, but I have too much work to do right now."
You: "I really appreciate your interest and I understand you're busy. Is there a more convenient time that we could talk?"
Remember--most people enjoy talking about their work to someone who is genuinely interested in what they do.
- Write down your questions before you start.
- When the interview starts, tell the person briefly about your interests and skills so he/she can offer you relevant information.
- Take notes if you can.
Choose any of the following questions that would best suit your purposes.