An informational interview is a great way to learn about an occupation. This is an interview that you initiate with a professional and where you gather information about their career path and day-to-day experiences in their profession.
Why should I set up an informational interview?
By interviewing a health care professional you will be able to:
- Learn what a typical day is like and clarify why this area is of interest to you
- Learn about selecting programs, including things to look for in a program and questions to ask throughout your search
- Build confidence in preparing for job interviews, as you will become more confident in conversing with professionals. You’ll also get good practice for future interviews by answering the questions that interviewees ask you!
- Expand your professional network by receiving suggestions for others you might interview
How do I arrange an informational interview?
- Identify someone to interview in your field of interest—ask parents, friends, relatives, alumni (Badger Careers Network), or search online directories.
- Prepare for the interview by learning about the person you will interview (if possible) and preparing questions (Sample Questions for Info Interviews).
- Set up an appointment by email or phone: Mention your interest in the field and that you would appreciate a short (20-30 minute) informational interview. Let them know who referred you (if applicable). Click here for an e-mail template you can use to contact someone about arranging an informational interview.
What should I know when conducting the interview?
- Show up early, dress appropriately (business casual) and take notes!
- Initiate and keep the conversation flowing—stay on track, but allow spontaneous conversation. Be prepared for the interviewee to ask you questions, too!
- Stick to your 20-30 minute time frame.
- Ask for recommendations for others you might contact and if you can use his/her name when setting up additional interviews.
- If the conversation has gone well, ask if there are any opportunities to shadow him or her (see here for information on shadowing).
- Ask if you can contact him/her again if you have questions in the future.
What should I do after the informational interview?
- Send a thank-you email immediately (within a day) and a thank-you note within a week.