How to Prep for your Informational Interview | Net Impact

How to Prep for your Informational Interview

To make the most of your conversation, take the time to prepare for your informational interview. Here are three ways to make a positive impression:

1. Know your interviewee

What can you find out before your informational interview? A little internet research prior to your conversation will enable you to ask deeper questions and show you’ve done your homework. Be sure to know the answers to these questions:

  • Where does he or she work? What does the organization do?
  • Has there been any recent news on the organization (product launches, acquisitions, funding, recent high profile hires)?
  • What is his or her title? (Bonus: What are his or her basic job functions? What was his or her career trajectory?)
  • What articles or ideas is he or she posting on social media?
  • Do you have any connections in common? Do you have any organizations, schools or interests in common?
  • What topics does he or she want to talk about? What topics does he or she not want to discuss?

2. Know your goal

What do you want to get out of the conversation? With just 20-30 minutes, the best conversations are focused on one or two specific areas that are clearly identified at the outset. Share your objectives prior to the appointment so he or she can enter the conversation with a clear direction.

Ask yourself: What are you trying to learn? Are you interested in a specific role, industry, company, school, or major?

What would a successful end result of the conversation be for you?

Once you’ve established your target for the conversation, create a list of questions that will help you reach that goal.

*Note: Getting a job offer should never be an explicit goal of your conversation.

3. Know yourself

Who are you and why should he or she invest in you? Think of this as an elevator pitch or personal value proposition. You should be able to describe yourself in three sentences or less, but be prepared to adapt your talking points for different audiences.

If delivering your pitch feels unnatural, test your talking points in front of a mirror, videotape yourself, or practice with a close friend. The more comfortable you are with the content, the more natural and confident you’ll be in your conversations.