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How to Get the Most Out of an Informational Interview: 10 Tips


After the recruitment process let us say that you have bagged an opportunity for sitting for an informational interview. You have succeeded in getting an amazing contact and you wish to ask details about the company.

Now you face the dilemma of how to attend such an interview, and what kind of questions to be asked. How to make most of the situation and also how to make things more comfortable instead of making it very awkward and hard.

Here are the following steps that makes sure that you get the information what you need about the company and also make a great impression to the interviewer.

Informational Interview Tips Steps

Successful Informational Interview Steps and Secrets:

1. Warm up:

Always remember that people love to talk about themselves and when you meet your contact for the first time, sit down and let them speak. Always remember that this is the perfect opportunity for you to collect information from your contact. Hence, try to ask various questions based on his/her past experiences and opinions from the contact when working for the company. The questions may include

For example:

  • How did you get your start in this field?
  • What it is like to work at your company?
  • What kind of projects are you working on?
  • What’s your opinion on the future of the industry?

You should also be prepared to chat about yourself. Try to add interesting facts about yourself and try to impress your contact. Always keep in mind that this meeting is not just a chance to ask some advice from your contact, it is also a chance to make an impression.

Do not be afraid to preface your questions with facts that you already know of. Try to incorporate those facts and make a useful and thoughtful question. This will easily impress the contact and he /she might even recommend your name to other supervisors or managers working in the company.

2. Get what you planned:

After you meet with the contact, try to learn what you can do to move on to the next step. After asking the necessary advice, try moving on to asking important information about the company. There are certain things you must follow before meeting with the contact.

Always study about the contact, what is his/her name, what position do they hold in the company, that will get the necessary information from asking him/her and so on. Depending on whether or not you are in your job research process, ask your questions accordingly.

For example: If you are still in the exploration mode, ask questions relating you and the contact. Like the following questions:

  • How did you choose this company over other options present in this field or industry?
  • What are the benefits of working in such an industry? Compared to other industries, why is this industry considered the best?
  • How do you think I can use my previous experience beneficial for working in the present industry?
  • How can I improve my skillset before joining into the company?

If you are further along the job search situation, ask the contacts about job interview tricks and tips so that you are fully prepared for any kind of interview. Do not be afraid to ask questions like:

  • I am currently waiting for the interview results from some of the positions that I applied to – what are the methods in which I should prepare?
  • What experiences, skills, personalities or traits does the company look for in new hires?
  • What all factors do you wish you could have done differently when you first started the company?
  • What job advice or fact would you like to state for freshers who are waiting for a job?

Try to keep up with the flow of the questions and always maintain a feeling of ease when asking questions. Do not try to ask too many questions at once. This might make the contact uncomfortable and he/she might not be able to give honest answers.

Also, for all the questions that you ask it should have an underlying theme of asking for advice, and not just simply asking for information. Try to keep it as professional as possible. Do not try to ask for a job from the contact, as this might alienate him. If the contact is willing to recommend you to the higher-ups then take the chance. But only if they initiate this process from their side.

3. Try to make a connection:

The main purpose of meeting a contact for an informational interview is to make a connection within the company that you are very excited to work for someday. When it comes to sharing confident information, recruiters are keener at it than you think. They often discuss about employees and decide who is fit and who is not for the company. If the person conducting the informational interview gets to know you, he or she might decide whether or not you are good for the company.

Why a connection?

People often get discouraged that informational interviews do not have sudden results as compared to other normal interviews, but if you admired any company for a long time and wish to work there, then having an informational interview is a great idea. This means that it is a great chance to talk to someone who has been working in the company that you have admired and always wanted to work for a long time. Once you get the necessary information from the recruiter, you might even get a hope to apply for your dream company, or even get the job that you wanted.

4. Information you can decide whether or not you have to stand for the company:

Informational interviews exactly do as the name suggests, they are informational. You should ask important questions so as to get as much information as possible and then the interview, slightly turns into a conversation, and you find yourself interrupting the interviewer quite a bit.

When to schedule an informational interview?

You should only schedule informational interviews with the companies that you are interested working in. Try to get as much information as you can to get to know about the office and also increase your excitement to work there and also to get to know whether the road to working at the office is the correct path for you. You might love the fact that the office has freebies at any particular day of the week. It is a fool proof method to find out if the job is cut out for you and if you are really excited and interested to work there.

5. Details about whether or not a job opening might come or not:

Keep in mind that there is no chance for a job opening by the end of an informational interview, but that does not mean that there are no job openings coming from the interviewer’s side. The recruiter might not always say what he has in mind, or whether or not he has great opportunities coming very shortly in the office.


A recruiter scheduling for an informational interview, always get to meet future candidates than the selected ones. Whenever they meet future candidates, they do not inform the candidates about the future job openings they have at the organisation. They will get in touch with you if they have anything coming up that needs to be addressed, but they are usually upfront about it.

As a candidate, you might often feel presumptuous to ask about the future opportunities present in the company, before asking this, think again. A recruiter is a very busy person and he or she has a lot of work to do. Moreover, they do not have time to answer such questions, so even if they get a lot of requests to hold an informational interview, in reality, they will only schedule a few of those.

6. Get into their network:

That said, after an informational interview, try to get a few contacts for recommendation and convey that you would like to talk to some more people as you have a really good interest in working for the company. The likelihood that someone will actually be interested in talking to you, goes significantly higher, if you are recommended to that person via a mutual contact. Hence, asking for recommendations is an easy and a fast way to talk to people.

The key here is to make the request as specific as possible. Instead of asking “ is there contacts you can share for recommendation?” ask them more specific questions such as” are there any contacts that you would recommend to job opening issues?”. This way there will be a lot of contacts that the interviewer can give to you.

7. Informational interview lets you to get to know the interviewer:

Many interviewers tend to hire candidates who remind them of themselves and the people who have an instant connection with. They tend to like people whom they have an instant click. Also, as a candidate when you are going through the informational interview, you get to know more about the nature of the employees working within the organisation and also getting to know the person who is conducting the informational interview. This is necessary so as to get a right “click” with the hiring manager and can be beneficial for future hiring and getting ended up with the right job.

How to?

Find out if they have same interest as you in sports,music,family back ground or any other factor that have some similarities to you. Try to know that if the individual started working in the industry with similar or same goal as yours. Additionally, when you get to know the person through the informational interview, grab the chance to expand your own horizon and contacts and make a good relationship with the employees in the company that you wish to work for.

8. Next plan:

Try to get the interview, going alone and decide what all doubts and advice you want to ask. Also, at the end of the interview, decide who you would want to meet or contact next. And do not forget to follow up with the person you are meeting with a follow up note. Give an update about the various meetings or interviews you had as a result of his/her job recommendation and job searches. After all – keep in mind that informational interviewees are not only useful for one time advice- they can become a long term part of your network.

9. No reply from them for an informational interview:

If you do not hear back from them suddenly, do not be distressed. People working in the company are very busy and they tend to forget the recommendation and stuff very easily.

The secret is not to give up and also try working hard and attend more informational interviews. If it has been more than a week, reply to the email and ask them whether the required person has read your resume and other related transcripts.

Also, use this opportunity to tell them how it is important to get 15-20 minutes of their time just to get an opportunity to talk to them.

10. Be pleasantly persistent:

Try to be slightly persistent with them and try to follow up with the email if they have decided to contact you. Do not go overboard with the persistence as this might upset the person who is going to conduct the informational interview, and your chances might get depleted.

The first step to get to know more about the job, is to understand the fact that you may or may not be the most suitable one for the job. This is why you should conduct an informational interview, try to get to know the interviewer and also get to know him/her better. Also, to make yourself more appealing for the job, do not waste time and try to learn as much as you could so that you would be an able pick for the job.