Informational Interviews

Informational interviews are a way to get the inside scoop on an organization and learn how people managed their careers to land a job in that organization. This is done by speaking with someone who works for an employer that you are interested in working for. In this dialogue, you can learn about company culture, job roles, industry trends and how they got their job and the necessary skills. An essential part of networking, informational interviews build up your knowledge base and your network. Then if opportunities arise you increase your likelihood of being noticed by an employer by using the knowledge gained in informational interviews to adapt your resume and cover letter and, to build internal connections who might be willing to refer you for jobs. 

Informational Interviews

Informational interviews are a way to get the inside scoop on an organization and learn how people managed their careers to land a job in that organization.

This is done by speaking with someone who works for an employer that you are interested in working for. In this dialogue, you can learn about company culture, job roles, industry trends and how they got their job and the necessary skills. An essential part of networking, informational interviews build up your knowledge base and your network. Then if opportunities arise you increase your likelihood of being noticed by an employer by using the knowledge gained in informational interviews to adapt your resume and cover letter and, to build internal connections who might be willing to refer you for jobs. 

 

What is an informational interview?

An informational interview is a fact-finding mission. You connect with an employee of an organization you want to learn more about. You research the company and employee ahead of time so you have some background on them.  This will give you context for your conversation and show your interviewer that you did your homework. Your conversation allows you to learn from an insider’s experience of the place and how they landed a job there. This is invaluable for your job search and is also a first step in networking and building out connections.   Informational interviews include:

  • Researching companies and industries online
  • Networking in person and online (LinkedIn)
  • Formulating interview questions
  • Conducting interviews
  • Sending thank you letters to interviewers
  • Checking in with newly formed contacts
  • Building relationships/mentorships
  • Visiting the Career Design Lab

How do I find someone to do an informational interview with?

Use LinkedIn to find and connect with Columbia alumni working in companies that interest you. Research the individual and learn about the career steps that led them to this job. Once they’ve accepted your request to connect, ask if they would be willing to do an informational interview. If you can’t find a Columbia alum at the company, see who else in your network works there. Follow the same steps to research and reach out to the person.