Informational Interviewing – Why it’s Mission Critical

Have you perfected the art of informational interviewing?

At Transition Solutions, we have been helping companies and individuals with workforce changes for 30 years.

The most common way to network is through the informational interview. Yet many people miss this mission critical opportunity. We provide the basics below to help get you ready to leverage this valuable tool in your career search efforts.

What is it? Per UC Berkeley, “An informational interview is an informal conversation you can have with someone working in an area of interest to you. It is an effective research tool and is best done after preliminary online research. It is not a job interview, and the objective is not to find job openings.”

We coach our clients that the goal(s) of the informational interview include any of the following:

  • Gather names of people who can give you advice or identify opportunities or decision makers. Refer to the initial list of contacts you put together.
  • Obtain information about a company or industry.
  • Clarify your career path decision.
  • Refine your interview techniques.
  • Increase your self-confidence.

Prior to the call for the informational interview:

  • Decide what information you want from this person – determine the goal of the meeting.
  • Develop a script. The script should start with your name and the name of the person who referred you, if applicable.
  • Ideally, your goal is to obtain a face-to-face meeting for about 15 to 20 minutes, but a phone appointment might provide you with the same result.

After you have scheduled a date/time for the informational interview:

  • Organize a brief presentation about your experience, skills and strengths.
  • Prepare questions that will get you the information you want.
  • Identify a list of possible target companies.
  • Update your resume, if necessary.

During the informational interview:

  • Be sensitive to the value of the person’s time.
  • Explain your reason for being there and who referred you, if applicable.
  • Conduct the interview using your prepared questions and any others that might come up based on the conversation.
  • Show your list of target companies to see if the person can provide you with additional contacts or additional information.
  • Ask for recommendations of other companies or individuals who you might contact.
  • Agree to follow-up with your progress.
  • Thank the person for their time and interest.

After the informational interview:

  • Send a “thank you” card or email within 24 hours.
  • Let the person know when you have followed-up with their recommendations and referrals.
  • Record the networking results including “thank you” letters sent. This will probably not be your last job-hunting campaign and a good record keeping system will tell you who the best network contacts are in the future.

At Transition Solutions, we have been helping companies and individuals with workforce changes for thirty years. Our strong reputation for consistently delivering exceptional service at value sets us apart. If you would like more information on our services please check out our website at or you can contact us directly at 888-424-0003 or email us at