Artboard 1 apply Artboard 1 copy 2 Mount_Logo_Primary_RGB Mount_Logo_Primary_RGB give Artboard 1 copy 3 info link Mount_Logo_Primary_RGB Artboard 1 Artboard 2 Artboard 1 visit

An Introduction to Informational Interviews

Eleanor Fisher
Career Center Intern

Informational interviewing advances career knowledge and develops new professional relationships while requiring little effort beyond setting up the appointment. Here are some steps to ensure your informational interviewing is effective.

There are some moments in your career journey when you need a new perspective. Maybe you are interested in a career field, but don't know what jobs interest you in that field. You might have a particular job in mind, but you're not sure if it's right for you. Conducting an informational interview can help give you clarity in these situations.

An informational interview gives you a chance to sit down with a professional from a field of work that interests you and learn about it. Don't confuse an informational interview with interviewing for a position – your goal here is not to get a job or internship from your interviewee. Instead, an informational interview enables you to learn more about a field of work and what it takes to succeed in that field.

The professional you interview can give you advice on how to build your career, and the information you gain from talking to them can help you decide on the next steps to take. Informational interviews are also a networking opportunity. Not only is your interviewee a professional connection, but he or she can also direct you to other professionals to connect with.

Now that you have decided to conduct an informational interview, how do you prepare for it? If you come to the Career Center, staff can assist you with all the following steps: goal assessment, finding a contact, developing questions, and final preparation.

    1. Goal assessment: Before you can request an informational interview, you must first decide what you want to gain from it. Do you want to learn more about a specific job, or about a career field in general? What sort of advice would be most valuable to you? Asking yourself these questions with the help of a Career Center staff member can help you narrow down who to talk to and what questions to ask them.
    2. Finding a contact: The first place to look is in your professional network. Do you have connections to someone in the field or position that you are interested in? Do you know anyone who can connect you with someone in your field of choice? Not only can the Career Center help you examine your own network, but its staff can also help you reach out to alumni and to people the Mount has connections with. Even beyond that, the Career Center can teach you how to write an email requesting an informational interview.
    3. Developing questions: When developing questions, keep your goal assessment in mind. Think of general questions about the interviewee's field of work and about succeeding in the workplace. Consider questions specific to the interviewee's particular job and workplace. Remember to ask open-ended questions, as those will be more productive.
    4. Preparation: Once you have an interview set up and questions planned, it’s time to finalize your preparation. If you will be meeting on Zoom, there are interview rooms in the Career Center that can provide a quiet space in which to talk. If you don't have professional clothing for the interview, you can check out the Mount Suits You Career Closet for free business wear. Preparation is necessary for a smooth interview, so consider discussing these details.

Once you have completed these steps, you are ready for your informational interview! As the adage goes, it's not what you know, it's who you know. let who you know help you expand on what you know by setting up an informational interview today. For more advice on how to conduct an informational interview, visit the Career Center.

Eleanor Fisher
Career Center Intern