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Informational Interview

A casual conversation between the job applicant and the prospective employer about the company

What is an Informational Interview?

One way to gain access to vital details about a company is through an informational interview. It refers to a casual conversation between a job applicant and someone who works at a company they want to be part of. It is usually a result of a successful networking opportunity, allowing you to learn more about a particular job from someone who is already working in that industry.


Informational Interview


As a job applicant, it is advantageous to know a bit more about a company. Whether it may be to prepare you for the job interview better or to see if the office culture is suitable for you, knowing more relevant information about what it’s like to work in a particular company can result in a significant impact on your application.

The informational interview provides information that can also help you determine what opportunities are available. It may be a casual conversation, but if you do it correctly, you may be one step closer to the job that you want.


How can you conduct an informational interview?

The first way is to reach out to someone you already know. In such a way, it’s easier to set up an interview since both parties are familiar with each other. It can be a former colleague or someone you’ve talked to several times in events.

Another way is to send a cold email through your alumni network or LinkedIn. The practice may be less common, but if done correctly, you may be able to set up an informational interview successfully.

Once you’ve set the date and place for the interview, here are several things to take into account:


Before the interview

Since you’re the one who sent an invitation for an interview, make sure to come prepared, and that means preparing a list of specific questions about the job and responsibilities involved. You can also ask about the office culture and the industry in general.


During the interview

In general, it helps to talk about light topics first to break the ice and make both parties comfortable. Get the ball rolling by asking the interviewee some questions about his or her job at the company. Here are some examples:

  • When did you start working at the company?
  • What are the projects that you’ve worked on?
  • What’s your take about this latest development in the industry?


It is also crucial to talk about yourself and your career goals. Let the interviewer know about your strengths that are suitable for the job that you’re applying for. After that, you can ask questions that offer a closer look at the role and the company. Here are some examples:

  • What do you like most about working at the company?
  • Why did you choose this company over its competitors?
  • What is the most challenging part of working for the company? In this industry?
  • With my background and work experience, do you think I will be suitable for a role in this field?
  • What advice can you give someone like me who’s looking for a career in this industry?


After the interview

The key is to send a thank you note or email within the day or the following day. Express your gratitude and appreciation for taking the time to talk to you and provide information about the company. If you know any job opening that may be suitable for you, you can include that in your email, expressing your interest in that particular job.

If you cannot find any positions that fit your work experience, you can say something like, “I believe there are no job openings at the moment that fit my skills and experience but feel free to send me an email if there’s a career opportunity that you think will be suitable for me.”


Final word

A successful informational interview will result in a job referral or recommendation, but don’t worry if the outcome is not what you’ve expected. Job hunting is a process, and for every informational interview, you’re getting closer to landing a job that’s right for you.


Related Readings

CFI offers the Financial Modeling & Valuation Analyst (FMVA)™ certification program for those looking to take their careers to the next level. To keep learning and advancing your career, the following resources will be helpful:

  • Guide to Top 10 Interview Questions
  • Interview Tips – How to Interview Well
  • Personal Brand
  • Questions to Ask the Interviewer

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