Career GuidanceInterview Tips

How to Get the Most Out of an Informational Interview?

Do you want to learn more about a particular career? Perhaps you’re considering a career change and want to learn about different options. Whatever your reason, informational interviews can be a helpful way to learn more about a certain career. An informational interview definition can be, a conversation with someone who works in the career field that you’re interested in. It’s an opportunity to ask questions and learn about what the job is really like. It’s important to remember that informational interviews are not job interviews. You’re not trying to impress the person you’re talking to and get a job offer.

According to a report, most people who conduct informational interviews are between the ages of 25 and 54. Going out on informational interviews is a good idea when you’re seeking work or investigating a new career path. This interview will reveal the reality of working in a particular position or industry, as well as if you are a suitable fit for the position and whether you should pursue it. However, what should you say if you find yourself in one? Which inquiries will provide you with the most insight? Any subjects you should steer clear of? If you need further assistance, how should you go about doing so? Well there are many questions, but in this arcticle you will know everything about informational interviews.

Purpose of an Informational Interview 

An informational interview is a conversation between two people where one person (the interviewer) asks the other person (the interviewee) questions about their career, industry, or company. The purpose of an informational interview is to gather information about a particular field or company and to learn about the interviewee’s professional experience. The interviewer can also use the informational interview as an opportunity to build their professional network.

An informational interview is a casual question-and-answer session between a job seeker and a working professional to learn as much as possible about a specific vocational field, or business culture. These interviews usually last between 15 and 30 minutes. The goal of a successful informational interview is to leave with a better understanding of an industry, or firm. Other purposes of an informational interview include:

  • Learning how to conduct research and screen jobs, positions, or employers 
  • Getting ready for future job interviews 
  • Developing the ability to ask direct and follow-up inquiries 
  • Learning how to take the first steps toward a possible career 
  • Recognizing your talents & weaknesses in preparation for a prospective position

Ways to Get the Most Out of an Informational Interview 

Informational interviews are a type of interview in which the interviewer seeks to gain information rather than evaluate the interviewee. They are typically used in the early stages of research, when the interviewer is trying to generate new ideas or gather preliminary data. Informational interviews can be useful for both the interviewer and interviewee. For the interviewer, they provide an opportunity to gather information from someone with first-hand knowledge. For the interviewee, they provide an opportunity to share information and insights, and to potentially build relationships with people who could prove to be valuable contacts in the future. Here are some ways to get the most out of an informational interview:

1. Do Your Research 

Before reaching out to someone for an informational interview, research their background and career path. This will help you ask more informed and specific questions, and also help you make a good impression. Informational interviews are an excellent way to obtain insider information, but to do so successfully, you must first extensively investigate the sector and the firm of interest. This will boost your credibility when you pose questions that do not have simple solutions. Look for information and tools to learn as much as you can about industry terminology, current industry trends, market leaders, and the company’s reputation. Learn about the company’s culture, history, and future ambitions. Conducting research will assist you determine what first-hand information to seek during your informational interview.

2. Be Prepared 

Have a list of questions ready in advance so that you make the most of your time with the person you’re interviewing. You should be prepared to take the lead during the interview. To do so properly, you must be prepared to ask open-ended questions about the person’s function in the organization, area of expertise, and specifics about their company culture. To keep the dialogue flowing, arrange your questions by genre. They can be divided into several categories, such as the industry in general, the culture of the firm, the job of the interviewed individual, and what it entails. You might also inquire about work-life balance or the working environment. Consider outlining the most crucial questions to ask before the meeting comes to an end.

3. Be Professional 

Although an informative interview is not a job interview, acting professionally will boost your chances of acquiring the information you seek and impressing the interviewee. You should show respect by arriving on time, if not a few minutes early. You should dress appropriately for the position you are applying for, and in most circumstances, standard business clothes are the best option. It’s also crucial to put the effort ahead of time to ensure you correctly pronounce the interviewee’s name and understand their position within the firm. 

4. Be Respectful 

When you are respectful to someone, they are more likely to be respectful to you in return. If you are respectful to the person you are interviewing, they are more likely to be open and willing to share information with you. This is especially important in an informational interview, where you are asking for the person’s time and knowledge. By showing respect, you are more likely to get the information you need and establish a good rapport with the person you are interviewing. Some tips on how to be respectful during an informational interview include:

  • Turning off your phone or putting it on silent mode
  • Not interrupting the interviewer
  • Listening attentively and showing that you are interested in what they have to say
  • Asking thoughtful questions
  • Showing appreciation for the person’s time and knowledge

5. Follow Up

After your informational interview, be sure to send a thank-you note to the person you interviewed. This is another opportunity to make a good impression and solidify the relationship. Following up also shows that you are professional and courteous, two qualities that will endear you to potential employers. In addition, following up gives you an opportunity to further discuss your qualifications and interests with the person you interviewed, which could lead to a job offer or other opportunities. Staying in touch with the interviewer keeps you top of their mind if any openings arise in their company or organization. 

3 Effective Tips for Non-Awkward Informational Interviews

We know that informational interviews are beneficial for us, but they can also be awkward if you’re not prepared enough or if you don’t know what to ask. Sometimes not preparing can also make you feel nervous during the interview. So here are 3 effective tips to help you get the most out of your informative interviews while also removing some of the awkwardness from the process:

1. Don’t Be Afraid to Inquire 

Approaching someone for an informational interview can be quite awkward, whether you’re asking someone you know and trust or emailing a stranger. But keep in mind that most individuals would be flattered to accommodate your request. After all, everyone likes to feel important!

So, instead of viewing it as a cold call, imagine yourself as a reporter contacting an expert to conduct research for a story. Send a polite, brief email that gets directly to the point. “I’m thinking about a career move and would love to pick your brain about your experience,” for example. A compliment on their achievements (“…given that you’ve had so many unique encounters in the marketing area”) is also appreciated.

2. Keep it Brief 

Even if you’re obtaining a lot of useful information and don’t want the meeting to end, it’s critical to respect the time of a person you’re interviewing with. So, put on a watch. 

When you have around 10 minutes until your meeting ends, gently add that you want to be “mindful of their time” and note the time remaining. This provides them the option of either extending the interview or ending it gracefully. In either case, they’ll appreciate your consideration of their time and professionalism, which is an excellent way to end an interview. 

3. Take Advantage of the Opportunity to Network

Expect the person you’re speaking with to know others who might be willing to share information with you. Use the last few minutes of your informational interview to ask them to name two or three people who can assist you in learning more. The important thing is to be as specific as possible. You can decide what areas you wish to learn more about based on the answers given throughout the conversation. In addition, asking for particular contacts increases the likelihood that your interviewee will think of someone who can assist you.

Questions You Should Ask During an Informational Interview

In order to get the most out of an informational interview, you should ask questions that will help you learn more. This will help you to gain a better understanding of what it is like to work in the field. Asking informational interview questions is important so that you can gather as much information as possible about your potential career. You should know which questions can help you gain more knowledge. So if you don’t know which questions you should ask, here are few informational interview questions you should consider asking:

  • What inspired you to pursue a career in this industry?
  • What is the most rewarding aspect of your career?
  • What does a typical day involve?
  • What are the biggest challenges you face in your role?
  • What is the most important skill you need for success in this field?
  • What education and training is necessary to pursue a career in this field?
  • What are the most common misunderstandings about this field?
  • What are the biggest trends affecting this field?
  • What is the outlook for this field?
  • What are the best resources for someone interested in this field?


Informational interviews are a great way to learn about a company or specific job before applying or interviewing. They also give you the opportunity to ask questions and get advice from someone who is already working in the field. There are a few key things to remember when you are conducting an informational interview in order to get the most out of the experience. By following the simple tips given in this article, you can ensure that you get the most out of your informational interview.


1. How do you conduct an informational interview? 

In order to conduct an informational interview, you should first identify individuals working in the field or organization of interest to you. Once you have identified potential interviewees, reach out to them and explain that you are interested in learning more about their field and would like to conduct an informational interview. Be sure to be polite and professional in your correspondence. 

2. What are some common mistakes to avoid during an informational interview? 

Common mistakes you can make during informational interviews include talking too much, not being prepared with questions, and not following up after the meeting. Also avoid asking personal questions or questions which can offend the other person. Your questions should demonstrate your best qualities. 

3. What are the benefits of conducting an informational interview? 

If you want to make your career in a particular field, this type of interview is best to understand more about it. Informational interviewing can help you learn about a particular career or company, gain insights from someone with first-hand experience, and build your professional network. 

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