Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Investigating roles with an informational interview

From: Managing Your Career

Video: Investigating roles with an informational interview

If you spend all of your time online doing research, you'll never really know whether a company or an industry matches your lifestyle considerations. An online search usually won't tell you how people work together, what balance you'll have with your life, or if you'll autonomy. Informational interviewing is a key resource for determining the right fit for you. It's asking people who work in your industry of interest what it's like to do their job, or what it's like to work for their company. This technique can be used at any point, whether you're thinking about changing jobs or moving into your next level of your career.

Investigating roles with an informational interview

If you spend all of your time online doing research, you'll never really know whether a company or an industry matches your lifestyle considerations. An online search usually won't tell you how people work together, what balance you'll have with your life, or if you'll autonomy. Informational interviewing is a key resource for determining the right fit for you. It's asking people who work in your industry of interest what it's like to do their job, or what it's like to work for their company. This technique can be used at any point, whether you're thinking about changing jobs or moving into your next level of your career.

There some key steps to effectively gain information with this technique. The first step is to review your career profile to determine the priorities for the interview. You want to come prepared with three to five questions or conversational prompts that will help you determine your fit with the industry, role, or company. If you ask behavioral-based questions, you're more likely to get an authentic picture. For example, tell me what your typical work hours are like, or give me an example of a time when you've collaborated, and there has been disagreements, how was that resolved? The second step is to identify the appropriate people to speak with regarding your questions.

You want to consider potential team members, direct reports, and also bosses. Each type of person will give you a different perspective that will be beneficial. The best contacts will be leads that you can attain directly or from referrals. Great sources for these contacts are professional networking sites, professional associations, and networking events targeted to your area of interest. The third step is to request an informational interview from one of these contacts.

You can email them or call them. Let the person know that you're exploring career options and are interested in what they do and the company they're working for. You should be considerate of the person's time, ask for 20 to 30 minutes and give them some possible dates and times to respond to. These are best to do in person, at their company if possible. During your meeting you want to direct the conversation by asking your questions; however, listening is going to be the most important aspect of the interview.

You really want to learn what their job is like or how the culture of the company or industry is, so listen and take notes if necessary. During this interview you don't want to ask for a job. This person was kind enough to give you their time, respect them by keeping your interview to information only. However, if they do ask if you're job hunting, feel free to let them know you're exploring options, but don't push your resume on them. Your goal is to build a relationship with them, not to make them feel pressured.

At the end of the meeting, ask to stay in touch and connect through professional networking sites if you use them. Thank them and then be sure to follow up with a simple thank you card after the interview. If you'd like more advice on informational interviews, jobhuntersbible.com has multiple resources to guide you through the process. Informational interviews are great. They give you insight to new careers and companies, but they also help you build your professional network.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Managing Your Career
Managing Your Career

20 video lessons · 15544 viewers

Valerie Sutton
Author

 

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Managing Your Career.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member ?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferences from the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.