The Top 3 Reasons to Do Informational Interviews

An informational interview is a hybrid of an industry infoblast, a networking event, and a job interview. It can feel like a lot of pressure, but once you conquer those nerves—which you will—it'll be one of the most valuable conversations you ever have. Here's why.

1. Making Connections

To be clear, an informational interview is not a job interview. And if you act like it is, the person you’re interviewing probably won’t be very inclined to help you out. Having said that, these interviews can be helpful in getting you a job down the line: if you make deep connections with the people you’re interviewing, they might put in a good word for you at their company or with other influential people in the industry.

2. Exploring Career Paths

At the very least, an informational interview is a great opportunity for you to explore career paths in industries that interest you. Let’s say you’re interested in psychology. If you interview a clinical psychiatrist, a research psychologist, and a social worker, you’ll get a better sense for the various options: how each job is different, what you’d need to do to succeed in each, and why one might be better suited for you.

3. Getting Details

You may have ready dozens of articles about "a day in the life of a [job you want]," but to get an authentic feel for what a gig is like, you want to speak face-to-face with someone who's been there. The people you're interviewing will give you candid answers about how they spend their 9-to-5 (or 7-to-7, depending on the industry), and you’ll get a more genuine understanding of what it’s really like to have their job.

Take a look at our case study of one student who did informational interviews: she’ll give you insider info along with tips and tricks for how to make the most of them.

Bob Carlton