by Juliet Rumley
Graduation is right around the corner, which means now is the best time to do your research and reach out to personal and LinkedIn contacts for informational interviews. Informational interviewing is the best way to gain new connections, get your foot-in-the-door of the industry you are trying to get into, and is great for practicing interview skills. This could also lead to you landing a job! So you may be asking how do I prepare for an informational interview? I have five great ways to nail that interview!
1. Do your research! Find out what the interviewee does through LinkedIn, Google searching, and his or her company website. Write down a few notes about the person’s previous careers and other key facts that could be great to bring up during the interview. Also, make sure you always do your research on the company! Not knowing anything about where the interviewee works does NOT make a good impression.
2. Prepare a list of questions: Be prepared in knowing what you are going to ask! Your contact has taken a few minutes of their day to give advice so make sure you make this worthwhile by knowing exactly what you are going to ask. Of course, make sure the questions are appropriate and relevant!
3. Call in an appropriate, comfortable and quiet area: It is so important to be in a place where you have nothing distracting you and have no background noise. You don’t want to constantly ask the interviewee to repeat talking points because you can’t hear what was said due to your location.
4. Keep it short: The interview should not be longer than 30 minutes. Be respectful of the interviewee’s time. A great interview length is 15-20 minutes. Anything longer may be too long and uncomfortable for the interviewee so be mindful and ask relevant information.
5. Build that Connection!: Ask yourself: “How does this interview help me? What can I gain from this interview?” Having this interview may lead to getting another connection, a face-to-face job interview, a reference or even a job. Make sure to always follow-up with the interviewee with a thank you email expressing your gratitude for the informational interview. This allows for the interviewee to have a good impression of you.
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