Skip to main content
8 answers
7
Asked 496 views Translate

How do you go through with an informational interview?

I have seen advice on Linkedin that in order to land a job, we need to network with people from our desired company by doing an informational interview. What kinds of questions do I need to ask during it?

#interviews #interview-preparation #interview-questions

+25 Karma if successful
From: You
To: Friend
Subject: Career question for you

7

8 answers


2
Updated Translate

Ro’s Answer

Informational Interviews are not traditional "interviews". It's more of networking and getting to know the person or industry. It's an important and useful tool to utilize when you want to know more about a job or field from someone that is further advanced in their career than yourself. In my opinion, the most important part of informational interviewing is WHO you choose to speak with.

For ex: Let's say you want to learn about a particular position in an industry (let's use Coding for example). You're not going to be able to meet and speak with B. Gates, but you could research and reach out to a recruiter or someone with a few years experience as a Coder in a company you're interested in.

1) Reach out to them and ask them if they could possibly take time out of their busy schedules to answer a few questions you had about the position or industry. DO NOT ASK THEM FOR A JOB. This is a fact-finding mission, not a job search.
2) Prepare a few insightful questions (ex: What led you to working at company A? What advice to you have for someone that wants to gain this kind of position? Are there any certificates or training that would benefit this position? etc.)
3) If meeting in person, dress like it's an interview. Prepare to adjust to their time.
4) Thank them for their time after you're done, ask for their card or contact info., and send them a thank you email.
2
1
Updated Translate

Rita’s Answer

Anna, informal interviews are a great way to show a company you are interested in them. I would first recommend you do your "homework" and go to the company's internet page and learn more about the company you are interested in. It would be a waste of time to ask any questions you could find on their company website which saves more time for questions you really want answers to. Below are a few questions you might be interested to ask. But you should be asking questions that matter to you first and foremost.

Rita recommends the following next steps:

What is your company's policy for working from home? How often do you need to be in the office? (ex. 3-5 days a week)
What is your company's 3-5 year plan?
What are the career paths options available to new employees?
What are the salary ranges for the position you are interested in?
Do they have relocation costs if you need to relocate?
1
1
Updated Translate

Alison’s Answer

Hi Anna! This is a great question, and it's awesome that you're thinking of doing these interviews. I would think of these interviews as both you trying to get to know the company/person and also trying to build a relationship with that person. That way, even if you don't end up at this company, you've still built a strong connection. To prepare for these interviews, I'd prepare questions related to a couple different areas: this person's experience/major responsibilities and the company's culture/where it's going.

A good way to get into the conversation is just asking how this person got into the industry/their position and how this company gives them different opportunities for growth. It's also interesting to ask about what challenges they face as well as different projects/responsibilities they have.

As for the company specifically, it's good to learn about their team structure, plans for the future, and other details that you may be interested in, such as if they do pro bono work or their diversity initiatives. Do research before the call and mention specific things you noticed--that'll help you stand out and make the conversation more productive.

Also, don't forget that they're getting to know you too, so I'd prepare to answer why you're interested in the company and what your story is. The person you're interviewing may help you get in touch with others at the company too. Good luck!
1
1
Updated Translate

Dexter’s Answer

Hey Anna,

I think the questions will vary depending on what is most important to you, and I'm sure you can google for some questions that most people would find important.

But yeah, if you could find someone in your friend network I think that'll be the best, but if you can find anyone that'll spend a 20 minutes on the phone with you, I think informational interviews are very important in choosing a company you want to work for.

For me, if I were to do this informational interview, here's what I would want to ask someone from that company:
1. What are the stated company values, and does the company live up to it?
2. In the end, if the employee does their best, what change are they contributing to?
3. Do you happen to know the hiring manager for the position I'm interested in? If so, do you happen to know what they think leadership means?

I would ask the first question, as there are companies that like to yell from the tops of mountains that they value X, Y, and Z, but very few, IMHO, actually live up to those values that they talk about. I would want to work for a company that tells me what they're about then lives up to it. If they don't, how can I trust them when they tell me that I'm going to be working on X? Maybe they'll renege on that too.

The second question is important to me, because I wouldn't want to work for a company that harms the environment or society. For example, in my opinion (so please do you own research and don't just take me at my word), anyone working at Facebook, Nestle, BP, Monsanto, Shell, etc are actively harming our environment/society by doing their best. Because of the goals and track record of these companies, I personally couldn't work for them.

This last question is difficult, because unless the company is small, it's not probable that they'll know the hiring manager, but in the chance they do, I'd want to know who I'll be working for. It is my opinion that the biggest factor to job satisfaction is based on the manager, so it's just important to know what you're walking into.

For a lot of other people, they might want to ask about bonuses, work-life balance, how well they compensate against their peers, perks, etc.

Anyways, I wish you the best of luck!

--
Dexter
1
0
Updated Translate

elisabeth’s Answer

HI Ana! I agree with everyone's points above. The purpose of an informational interview is really just to give you the opportunity to ask questions, learn about the company, the position, the interviewee's experience. On the other hand, I recommend coming prepared with questions that require more than just a "yes" or "no" to reply to. From my experience I have picked 1-2 questions per area of interest I am curious about. For example, 2 about the position, 2 about the company work environment, etc. While no question is a stupid question, be prepared and make sure that your questions are things that cannot be easily googled and really do come from pure curiosity!
0
0
Updated Translate

Josh’s Answer

Hey Ana! Everyone above has had some really good points! I will also provide my look at informational interviews. Usually when you do an informational interview it is because you are curious about the position, maybe you are wondering about the professional's career progression, what they did to achieve certain career goals. All of these are valid things to want to know, especially if that professional is in a role you want to be in sometime in the future.

I always do prior research about the company they work for. Nothing like fluctuations of stock price or know the in-depth history, but I do come prepared. I generally try to keep the informational interviews to 20-30 minutes and that is usually 5-10 questions, which will allow for follow-up and formalities. Avoid yes/no questions, try to focus on open-ended questions. For example, "Do you enjoy your role?" I wouldn't ask, but I would ask, "What makes your job enjoyable?". My questions also cover a broad range of topics, career path (how they got into the field, the role, or the company itself), educational history (generally can find this on LinkedIn, but how they found the passion for it), the specific role, and the company they work at (this is where your baseline understanding comes in because you can ask deep dive questions if you have done some form of research). I always end with thanking them for their time and asking if I can follow up with any questions that I may have in the future. Maintain these connections because they can connect you with other people in a similar role and you can get different perspectives on your potential job interest.

I wish you the best of luck! There are no bad questions, only curious minds.
0
0
Updated Translate

Lillian’s Answer

Hi Ana,

Informational interviews are so vital, fun and just a great way to network and learn! You also want to leave a lasting impression with the person you speak with by coming in prepared.

I think the key to informational interviews is really having a list of questions ready and what YOU truly want to know about their job/skills. Perhaps some questions could be:
-Can you walk me through your career path?
-What is the most rewarding part of your job?
-What are some of the challenges you face in this job?
-How did you know you wanted to pursue this job?
-What is the career path/growth?

After you do an informational interview, make sure you check in with them every 6 months or so. You never know when they might have a job opening!
0
0
Updated Translate

Rita’s Answer

Anna, informal interviews are a great way to show a company you are interested in them. I would first recommend you do your "homework" and go to the company's internet page and learn more about the company you are interested in. It would be a waste of time to ask any questions you could find on their company website which saves more time for questions you really want answers to. Below are a few questions you might be interested to ask. But you should be asking questions that matter to you first and foremost.

Rita recommends the following next steps:

What is your company's policy for working from home? How often do you need to be in the office? (ex. 3-5 days a week)
What is your company's 3-5 year plan?
What are the career paths options available to new employees?
What are the salary ranges for the position you are interested in?
Do they have relocation costs if you need to relocate?
0