What to do when you get an information interview


Information interviews are the perfect opportunity to pick the brains of someone you admire, expand your network, and make a good impression on someone who may well hire you in the future. (Read: All summer interns should consider scheduling at least one before your internship ends.)

However, if you’re new to informational interviewing, it can be hard to tell if you’re really doing your best. So, with the help of Hallie Crawford, Certified Career Coach and Founder of HallieCrawford.com, and Maggie Mistal, Certified Career Consultant and Executive Coach at MMM Career Consulting, we’ve come up with the ultimate guide to good information care label.

How to apply

Organizing an informational interview can be totally intimidating. Chances are, you’re trying to chat with someone whose career path you truly admire, and it’s easy to imagine the worst-case scenario where you make a big typo in your email / annoy your potential interlocutor / get rejected.

To make the request a bit easier, Crawford and Mistal suggest contacting a “warm” contact. A warm contact is someone you have some sort of distant connection with, such as a friend of a friend, an alumnus of your college, or someone you’ve connected with on any social media platform before. , including Levo.com. “Reach out to people you know first, then expand beyond and find people to talk to through friends, family and former colleagues, as well as through Linkedin or your association. ‘alumni,’ says Crawford.

Mistal also stresses the importance of removing any “I’s” from your email request. You want your potential interlocutor to know precisely why she is the right person to talk to – not why you would benefit from talking to him. “It’s like you meet someone at a networking event and they don’t even say, ‘Hi, what’s your name? They just started to get into who they are, ”says Mistal. “You would think, ‘This is weird.’ So what I always tell people is that you need to focus on the person you are talking to. It has to be them first.

Where do we meet

Congratulations! Your informational contact has accepted your request. Now you need to come up with a venue for the meeting, which can be tricky when the possibilities are seemingly endless. Do you meet at your interlocutor’s office? A cute coffee? The place for lunch down the street? Or would everyone be better off if the convo dropped by phone?

Finding the right answer is not difficult – just present the options to your interlocutor and leave her choose what she finds most practical. “Gifting a meal or a coffee is good because you give them something in exchange for their time,” Crawford says. “But if they prefer it in their office or on the phone, go for what they’re comfortable with.”

How about meeting outside of the office? Make sure to bring your wallet. “If you’re going to have a conversation for lunch, you should expect to pay,” says Mistal. Keep in mind that while the person you meet is likely to force your hand into letting them pay, the simple act of offering will put you in their good favor.

How to prepare

If you don’t anything otherwise, before meeting your interlocutor, you must absolutely do your research. As Mistal says, there’s a lot of information available through a quick Google search, and that information can help you target your questions to specific areas of your interviewer’s career that you really want to know and do. you look better for it.

“From an etiquette perspective, I think it makes a very positive impression when you’ve done a bit of work on this person. Take a look at their LinkedIn profile, maybe read some of their tweets or see if they’ve blogged something, ”Mistal says. “I think when you do your homework on a person and understand a little bit more, it just shows that you are a caring and genuine person. “

What to wear

Believe it or not, the key to looking your best in an information interview is to blend in with the whole. “You want to match the type of environment in which your information interview is going to take place,” says Mistal. “That said, make sure you look professional in any environment.”

When in doubt, however, it’s always better to dress too much than not to dress. “Mistake on the side of being more formal and professional than too casual,” says Crawford. “This person, or someone they know, might end up offering you a job, so you need to make a very positive impression on them, just like you would for anyone else who might hire you.”

How to follow up

During the interview, Crawford recommends asking your interviewee how you can help them, and then continuing after the interview. “Even if you’re not sure you have something to offer them, ask. It’s imperative that you let them know that you not only value their time, but also want to help them in return in any way you can, ”she says. A simple thank you note after the interview is also a great way to show your appreciation.

This article originally appeared on Levo and is reprinted with permission.