Informational Interviewing

Career conversations with professionals builds your knowledge and your network.

Informational Interviewing

You might want to talk to someone about their job, career path, employer, or other topics. An informational interview helps you understand what types of jobs you might (or might not) be well suited for and assess whether a workplace aligns with your values. They’re also great for building your network.

  • What an informational interview is
  • Who you should ask for an interview
  • How to request an interview

What is an Informational Interview?

Informational Interviews are considered a form of networking, but their purpose is for gathering information

Keep it Brief

An informational interview will be short, around 30 minutes long, but you may  build good rapport with that person and continue your professional relationship.  

Build Your Network

Informational interviewing is a great way to start meeting new people and building your professional network. 

How do I Know Who to Talk To?

You might do an informational interview for a lot of reasons, but common ones are learning more about majors, careers, and employers. Here are some suggestions of types of people you might consider talking to:

  • People who majored in an academic field that you are considering. 
  • Someone who can tell you more about a career field you’re interested in. 
  • A person who works for an organization you want to learn more about. 

Where do I find these people? 

  • Consider who you already know – like family members, mentors, professors, supervisors, co-workers, or classmates. 
  • Ask those people if they have any connections you can reach out to.  
  • Use LinkedIn or St. Thomas Connect to find St. Thomas Alumni to talk to! 

Setting up an Informational Interview 

You can call, email, or reach out on a platform like St. Thomas Connect or LinkedIn. No matter how you do it, it’s important to make a positive first impression. Your request should include: 

  • Your name and a bit about yourself (ex. letting them know you’re a student at St. Thomas, and what you’re studying is a great idea!) 
  • How you found them (ex. were you referred by someone, did you find them as a part of the Tommie Network?) 
  • Why you’re reaching out (ex. you’re curious about the job that they’re doing, you’ want to know more about the organization they work for, etc.) 
  • Request the opportunity to have a conversation – this could be over the phone, zoom, or in person. It’s good to offer options.  Plan for a 30 minute meeting. 
  • Confirm the date and time of the meeting and send a calendar invite to them. 

During the Interview

Remember, your primary purpose is to gather information, and begin building a good relationship.

  • Dress and act professionally – even if you aren’t meeting in person.  
  • Do a little bit of research ahead of time so you know a bit about the person, and/or their organization’s background.  
  • Have a list of prepared questions, ready to show your curiosity and excitement.  
  • Be flexible! Sometimes the conversation may go a different direction than planned and still be providing useful information. 

Don’t Forget to Say Thanks! 

After you’ve done an informational interview, it’s important to send a thank-you note. Express your gratitude for the time they took to talk with you, and reiterate some of the important things you learned from your conversation with them.