How to do a 15–20m informational interviews
If you're looking to transition careers, schedule informational chats with as many people as you can in your desired career field. Here's how to do an awesome informational interview:
1 min, Engage:
Take a minute to get excited about the person you're interviewing because they’re giving you their time. Make sure you have a genuine reason to be excited. Read their social media, LinkedIn, etc. and have something interesting to say about it.
“I’m excited to meet with you today! I saw that you [______ …helped launch x / have the best food blog / watched every episode of GoT / recently posted about x].”
2 min, Them: Move the conversation forward. Keep it about them first, but set the clear expectation that you’ll talk about something interesting and give them a way to engage with you so that you’re not wasting anyone’s time.
“I’d love to learn a little bit more about you and then talk [_________... fashion tech / machine learning / FinTech / content marketing].”
2 min, You: After they give you their bio, use whatever you learned about them to organically move the conversation to you and bring the passion.
“Your framework for x is exactly what I’ve been thinking about. I ________…[this is where you give your 1–2 minute bio]
1 min, Passion! Now it’s time to talk about what you want and why you want it. What you want at this stage might just be to learn, and that’s okay, too. Whatever it is, say it with passion and sincerity
“And now I’m looking to get into ________ because _______ [talk about your skills / observations / deep mission / vision / life goals / burning desire, etc.].”
10 min, Listen: They’re here because they can help you. Now the stage is set for them to show you how they can be the hero, tell you the inside secrets, or what you need to know to be successful in their field.
2 min, Ask: You’ve got rapport, excitement, and shared passion for ________. You’ve been hanging on their every word, taking notes, and asking smart follow up questions. Now let them know exactly how they can help you. They may offer before you can ask, which is even better.
“Who should I be talking to right now to get into ______?”
“Do you know any teams looking for ______”
“Are there any projects to get involved in that will help me get into _______”
Wrap up: Thank them and let them know you’ll follow up with notes on the action items. If you are asking them for warm intros to others in the field, you may need to send an email to them that they can use to introduce you to said person.
Post call: Send an email with a genuine thank you, but don’t over do it, you don’t want to throw off the power dynamic. You are always just as valuable as they are, so you don’t want to use any language that fluffs them up. Include action items or any major notes from the chat.