Wouldn’t it be great to have the opportunity to get insider information about an industry or company without having to go through the application process?

An “Informational Interview” lets you do just that!

An Informational Interview is a meeting and discussion with someone who is already doing the job that you want to do. It gives you a chance to hear what their experience is like, and what the pros and cons you might experience are.

But unlike talking to a recruiter, an Informational Interview is informal. And there’s no pressure to impress them — while it could lead to making a connection for your job search, it’s more about making sure that you’ll find what you’re searching for if you keep heading in this direction.

So how do you initiate an Informational Interview with someone in your field?

Follow these 3 steps to set one up!

1. Make a list of potential mentors

And before you do that, narrow down your list of potential career paths.

Remember, you’re not committing to anything by simply exploring one direction before the rest. That’s the point of these interviews: they help you find your focus!

So just start with one, two, or three possible trajectories. By narrowing it down, it’ll make it literally as easy as 1-2-3!

Once you have an idea of what you’d like to do for a living, and what you value most in a job, then start discovering people who have already achieved your goals. You can do this by looking through company staff lists, or through social media, or even just by asking around.

Gather as many contacts as you can. Remember, not all of them will say yes, and even then you’ll want to get more than one opinion.

2. Customize a message asking to connect

The next step after you have your list is to go through it and send a message to everyone on it!

It’s important to personalize your request to connect for each individual. If you just spam everyone with the same message, people will just treat it as…well, spam.

Use their name, and mention something that made you interested in them. It’s also great to highlight something you have in common.

Most importantly, be general about your interest in connecting with them. Don’t ask for an interview right away!

Even though that’s your goal, if you make it seem like you’re just trying to use them for your own advantage (and not out of a genuine interest in them) then they’ll feel put off by your request to connect.

Pro Tip: LinkedIn allows you to send connection requests with a short message, which is a great way to reach out initially.

3. Acknowledge, then ask!

Once someone agrees to connect with you, or replies to your message with interest, then you’re almost there!

First, thank them for accepting your invitation to connect, and send a follow-up message.

Now’s the time to be straightforward. Tell them that you’ve been curious about their industry, and you’re looking to learn more about it from a working professional.

Most often, you’ll find that people are willing to help where they can. But unfortunately, not everyone can. Whether they say no because of their schedule, or for any other reason: accept their decision politely.

And if they say yes, it’s still important to respect their time. Schedule a meeting time that works for them, and try to keep it brief. It is also good to show up prepared with the questions you want to ask in advance so you can stay on track.

And it never hurts to offer to have the interview over coffee or lunch. By picking up the cheque, you can show your appreciation for your education!


Lots of jobs seem glamorous from a distance, but they might be entirely different up close. 

Informational Interviews are great for finding out what a career is like first-hand, without getting your hands dirty!

If you’re looking to explore your own career options, you can also get help from ReStart today!