How does an Information Interview help you?

  • Get first-hand information on working within a particular career area, industry or position. 
  • Get tips about how to prepare for and enter a given career.
  • Improve your communication skills and confidence speaking with professionals.
  • Learn what it’s like to work at a specific organisation.
  • Learn what types of job opportunities exist in a particular career area or organisation.
  • Gain knowledge that can help you in a job search.
  • Compiling a CV and preparing for Interview is much easier when you have a clear sense of what a job involves. This allows you to tailor your application, matching your skills and experience with those being sought by the organisation.
  • Initiate a professional relationship and expand your network of contacts in a specific career area.

Preparation

  • Do some initial research on the career area or employers using internet and print resources.
  • Pursue your own contacts. People you already know, even if they aren't in fields of interest to you, as they may know people in your field of interest. 
  • Family, friends, lecturers and former employers.  
  • On  the Career Development Centre website
  1. Employer Listings and Additional Job-Search Resources to identify companies.
  2. Explore Careers section -  Links to Professional Organisations in your area of interest.
  • Read newspaper and magazine articles.
  • Contact professional or trade associations or call organisations directly for the name of someone working in a relevant career area.
  • Identify people in a variety of work settings to gain insight into different working environments. It can be a good idea to collect opinions from both those that are fairly new to the job area, and those who have been in the area for a long time. Be aware that similar roles will differ between individual institutions or companies. You need to go to the person having done as much research as possible about the job, so that you come across to your new contact as a focussed and interested. Prepare a list of useful questions to ask. Use our sample  Information Interview -Questions  as a guideline.
  • Having done your research and made a list of potential people to contact, its time to act 

Make Contact

  • Contact the person by phone(see example below) or email.
  • Mention how/where you got his or her name.
  • Ask whether it’s a good time to talk
  • for a few minutes.
  • Make it clear that you are looking for information, not a job. 
  • Ask for a convenient time to have a 15-20 minute meeting.
  • Be prepared to ask questions straight away if the person says that now is a good time for him/her.

Sample Text:
Hello. My name is Mary Smith and in final year of a degree in  ______________(mention what you are studying) at Maynooth University. Is this a good time to talk to you briefly? I am very interested in  ____________(mention your career area of interest) and would like to find out as much as I can about the area.  Would it be possible to schedule 15 – 20 minutes at a convenient time to ask you a few questions and get you advice on working in this area?

 

At the interview

  • Dress neatly and appropriately, as you would for a job interview in the particular industry or field.
  • Make sure you know where you’re going and arrive on time or a few minutes early.
  • Restate that your objective is to get information and advice.
  • Be ready to give a brief overview of yourself and your education and/or work background – you will have prepared this when doing
  • your research !!
  • Be prepared to lead the interview, but also let the conversation flow naturally, and encourage the interviewee to do most of the talking,
  • the aim is to gain as much information as possible about this career area.
  • Have a list of well prepared questions and start with your most relevant questions.
  • Listen well and show genuine interest in what the person has to say.
  • Take notes if you'd like, bring a notebook and pen with you, or have one at hand if you’re speaking on the phone.Respect the person's time.
  • Keep the meeting length within the time span that you requested.
  • Offer to end the meeting at the end of the agreed time.
  • Ask the person if you may contact him or her again in the future with other questions.
  • Have a business card available so you can leave it with the interviewee.
  • Be aware that everyone has their own opinions and attitudes so speaking with a number of people will allow you to see different perspectives and get a general overview of the career area. 
  • Always ask for names of other people to talk to for additional information - this is also a useful way of extending your network 

Follow up

  • Keep records. Immediately after the interview write down what you learned (including any suggestions or advice given to you), anything else you’d like to know and your thoughts in terms of how this industry or position would "fit" with your, interests, skills and future career plans.
  • Send a thank-you note or email within 1-2 days to thank them for taking the time to give you information you found useful -  this can be a gentle way of reminding your contact of anything they promised to do.Keep in touch with the person, especially if you had a particularly nice interaction. You can let him or her know that you acted on their advice and mention how things are going as a result. This contact could become an important part of your network