- Watch “How to Do an Informational Interview.”
- Select your prospective interview candidate. See below for guidance on identifying a suitable interviewee.
- Gather professional/biographical details about your prospective interview subject.
- Request an interview by email, by phone, or in person. If you’re going to send your request by email, review these email templates for suggested wording. Consider CC’ing me on the request.
To identify a suitable interview subject, find professionals in your career you would like to explore. Think about tapping these sources:
- Check with your personal and professional networks and professors to connect you with professionals in your field of interest.
- Check within Community Connect within CareerQuest or the UMUC/UMGC Alumni LinkedIn group for access to potential alumni and mentors.
- Consider members within student or professional organizations you have joined or would like to join.
There are no restrictions on your interviewee’s location. CareerQuest has a video chat feature you can use if you connect with your subject through that platform.
After you explore your interviewee options, request the interview. Reach out in a timely manner, as many professionals have demanding schedules and may not be available right away. It is also wise to consider having more than one potential interview candidate, in case your first choice doesn’t pan out.
As you prepare for your interview, bear in mind these tips:
- Maintain a professional demeanor, both in writing and orally.
- Draft a list of questions in advance.
- Schedule the interview for no longer than 20 minutes.
Part 2 (recommend completing during Week 6)
Prepare for your interview well in advance. In Part 2 of this activity, you will prepare for and conduct your informational interview by completing the following tasks:
- Determine the logistics of your interview. Will you meet in person? Via video chat or web conference (Zoom, Google Hangouts, FaceTime, Skype, etc.)? An interview in real time is preferable, but if you and your subject are unable to arrange that, you can use email.
- Draft your interview questions. See below for guidance.
- Conduct the interview.
Here are some questions you might consider:
- What sparked your interest in this career field?
- What does a typical day entail in your line of work?
- What do you like most about your career field?
- What are some challenges you face in this career choice?
- How do you handle your work-life balance?
- What suggestions do you have for someone who is interested in this field?
- Who else do you recommend I talk to?
Part 3 (due by the end of Week 7)
After your interview, summarize your notes in two or three paragraphs. Include the name of the interviewee, a short biography describing his or her professional background and experiences, and a brief synopsis of your interview details/highlights. Be sure to include a list of the questions that you asked. You may find this template helpful. This documentation is due by the end of Week 7.