Everyone hopes to land an interview or get an opportunity to show themselves to their future employers. What if you swapped roles and YOU conducted the interview? Don't wait for an invitation to interview, make your own!
Learn the tactics involved in information Interviewing. Source Employers, ask intentional questions to make your opportunity count and follow up like a professional to advance the relationship. If you follow these simple steps, you can information Interview your way to a job!
YOUR WAYTO AJOB
Information Interviewing is a job search strategy that involves going to a professional with
a company you would like to work for and asking intentional questions.
It includes 3 tactics:
Tactic 1 – Source Employers
Resources you can use to identify Employer contacts you want to information interview:
What to say when requesting an information interview:
Hello. My name is Sally Mustang and I am a graduate student at Western University.
I received your name from my professor John Wilson. I have become very interested in the biotechnology
industry and would like to find out as much as I can about this field.
Would it be possible to schedule 20 or 30 minutes with you at your convenience to ask you a few questions
and get your advice on how best to prepare to enter the field?
Subject: Western student seeking your advice
Dear Mr. Leigh,
My name is Sally Mustang, and I am a third year Western student who found your information in the
LinkedIn Alumni database while I was researching the financial and banking industry. May I have 20
minutes to ask you about your experience with TD Bank? I am trying to learn more about finance roles
within this industry, and your insights would be very helpful.
I recognize this may be a busy time for you, so if we are unable to connect by email I’ll try to reach you next
week to see whether that is more convenient.
Thank you for your time.
Canada’s Top Employers Yellow Pages 10, 000 Coffees Worktrends.ca
Magnet Talent Egg LinkedIn Canada.ca
What can I do with a degree in? Your Professional Network London Economic Development Corporation
Follow-up that advances
Ask Intentional Questions
Tactic 2 – Ask Intentional Questions
1. On a typical day in this position, what do you do?
2. What training or education is required for this type of work?
3. What skills are required for a person in this position?
4. Why did you choose to work for this organization?
5. How did you get your job?
6. What entry level jobs are best for learning as much as possible?
7. What advice would you have for someone wanting to enter this field?
8. What opportunities for advancement/movement are there in this field/organization?
9. How would you describe the work atmosphere?
10. What is your best guess as to the future job trends and changes in this field?
11. How do you see jobs in this field changing in the future?
12. Is there a demand for people in this occupation?
13. What growth do you foresee in this organization?
14. What other occupations in this industry are similar to yours?
15. What type of training do companies offer persons entering this field?
16. Which professional journals and organizations would help me learn more about this field?
17. Could you suggest anyone else that works in this area that would be willing to talk to me? May I use your name when I
Ask Pain Point Questions
These questions provoke responses revealing areas of need, opportunity, growth, frustration and truth.
• What are the challenging components of your job?
• What do you wish your company or area could do better?
• What experience/skills sets do you look for in candidates that you find difficult to get?
• What qualities/characteristics does an individual need to thrive in this career field?
• What contract or internship opportunities exist in your organization?
Pain Point Questions allow you to demonstrate you were listening in the interview by repeating the pain point and
then positioning yourself as the solution.
“It sounds like your company struggles finding candidates who can translate complex technical
information to end users. In my professional experience working with Rogers, I provided technical service
as part of their telephone support team, solving problems and simplifying complex information for clients.
I believe this experience and skillset would be relevant to your needs and the needs of your customers.”
When you effectively follow up on a pain point question, you show the contact
how you can add value which helps them visualize you working for their
company. This makes you relevant and memorable.
Tactic 3 – Deliver Professional Follow-up that advances the relationship
Send a Thank You Email 24 hours after the information interview
Thank You Email
Dear Ms. Banglesh
I appreciated that you met with me yesterday to talk about your work as a graphic designer with
BlackBerry. I now have a better understanding of this exciting field, particularly within a large global
It was helpful to hear that I should focus on developing my portfolio to showcase my abilities and potential
as an employee. It was also beneficial to know that organizations such as yours often offer internships
for students. I have decided to do more research about a possible internship to enhance my skills and
get more practical hands on experience. I will be contacting your colleague, Randy Mead, to make an
appointment regarding internship opportunities at BlackBerry.
I very much appreciate having had the opportunity to meet with you.Your time and guidance was
Share monthly Progress Updates
Thank you again for speaking with me last month. I found your insights incredibly helpful, particularly on
the increasing importance of micro segmentation in the advertising space.
Also, per your advice, I started reading Brand Week and Ad Age to get a better sense for current trends
in marketing and advertising. I’m now feeling able to converse knowledgably about the challenges and
opportunities facing ad agencies these days.
Do you have any additional suggestions or recommendations that you think may prove helpful? Any
further guidance would be greatly appreciated, but if nothing comes to mind, I’ll be sure to keep you
posted on my progress over the coming weeks.
“When you send a progress update to your contact, it is like checking your
lobster traps for a catch. You are providing your contacts with a service – a
reminder to act if they’ve heard of a job or anything that might be relevant to
Guidelines when Applying for Positions with the Company you Information Interviewed with:
When you become aware of open positions with the company, it is strategic to inform your contact that you applied. This
communication could be by telephone or email. Make it short and succinct. In most cases, your contact will advocate for you
and this increases your chances of scoring an interview.
When you apply for advertised positions within their company, it is strategic to lean on your contact’s name in your cover
letter or email related to the application. Reference relevant details from your information interview mentioning things going
beyond basic website awareness as this will go a long way in differentiating you from your competition. Most other applicants
are simply relying on what they read on the website. Having had the information interview puts you at an advantage.
In your cover letter, bring up the Pain Points you heard from the interview. Name the struggle they experience finding
candidates who can translate complex technical information to end users or how difficult you understand it is for them to get
candidates who have the availability they are looking for. Position yourself as the solution. Ensure your resume bullet points
position you to solve the pain points the company is experiencing with tangible examples of how you had done so in the past.
A Note from Jeff
Information Interviewing puts you in the driver’s seat. You are in control of thejourney, calling
the questions. This translates into a richer professional network, better awareness of the value
you can add to these companies and increased confidence.
When you execute these information interview tactics, there is a real possibility you will score a
job. I know this because I see it happen all the time.
In addition to being one who information interviews, I have also been the one being information
interviewed. In fact, I’m proud to say the first person I hired at Western came as a result
of him reaching out for an information interview. I’m currently using the technique to explore
careers in other areas of Western proving information interviewing isn’t a technique you use to
get your firstjob. It’s a technique you use throughout your career to progress and evolve as a
What are you waiting for? Start information interviewing your way to ajob today!
Associate Director, Employer Relations
The Student Success Centre – The Student Experience
LinkedIn: Jeff Watson
Information Interview your way to a job content was inspired by materials developed at
The Student Success Centre and the book, The 2 Hour Job Search by Steve Dalton.