An informational interview is a meeting you initiate to learn about a specific career field, path, or possibly market. The bottom line is that you are asking for advice, not a job.
Why do informational interviews?
It is impossible to overestimate the value of conducting informational meetings. Seeking advice and information in a low-pressure environment allows you discuss the particulars of a profession, learn about different career paths and fields, and develop a professional network to help you find your ideal job. Most people find that advice and suggestions given by professionals already working in their field of interest are more accurate and beneficial than information gathered from other sources.
Conducting informational interviews throughout the application process can help ensure success throughout every stage of your job search.
Our networking and relationship building section contains helpful information on how to find contacts to conduct an informational meeting.
Be mindful that these direct connections may not have the information that you seek or work at the employer that you are targeting; but a particular referral from your connections may be the right person to meet with. Explore “second connections” after considering who your direct connections are.
Craft a short email asking to meet in person or talk over the phone – in person is optimal. We recommend you review our sample outreach emails for examples on how to reach out to your contacts.
Research your contact’s background and organization and develop questions to ask during your meeting. In brainstorming questions, think about what you hope to get out of the meeting: An insight into the organization? Information about practicing a particular type of law?
Conducting the Informational Interview
Dress professionally and be on time. Also be mindful of time during the interview – stick to 20 or 30 minutes unless the attorney is willing to stay longer. Use the informational interview to build and expand your network – ask for referrals to other practitioners who might know about your desired subject.