The term informational interview refers to a meeting used to gather information about a specific job, field of work, company, or industry. Informational interviews are not part of the hiring process; they are information sharing sessions initiated by job seekers as well as employers.
Also known as an informational conversation, an informational interview is used by both job seekers and employers to gather information about a certain job, field of work, industry, or company. Informational interviews are not a variation of a job interview, and it is not part of the hiring process. They can be initiated by job seekers looking to learn more about a specific position or company, as well as employers looking to understand the roles and responsibilities of an individual.
For example, a job seeker might conduct an interview to learn more about a company's culture. Alternatively, they could also hold a meeting to seek advice from a colleague or merely to expand their network of contacts. Employers looking to benchmark their organizational structure might conduct an informational interview to learn more about the roles and responsibilities of a specific department. Employers looking to expand their pool of job candidates will also conduct these interviews.
Job seekers initiating these meetings should conduct them in a respectful and efficient manner. This means establishing a formal agenda prior to the meeting, and sending out a list of questions beforehand. The length of the meeting should be no more than 30 minutes, and the job seeker should be taking written notes.
All meetings should be followed up with a "thank you" note, expressing gratitude for the individual's time in addition to asking any clarifying questions.