Summer 2019 Recruiting Update: June is for Informational Interviews!
An informational interview is a conversation via phone or in-person with someone who can give you an insider’s perspective on an employer, profession or industry. Informational Interviewing is a skill, and like any skill, you’ll get better with practice. It is also a key step in helping your resume stand out from the stack when applying for internships and jobs.
Unfortunately, it is not appropriate to ask for an internship or job outright. This may be perceived as pushy or aggressive. However, having these conversations will give you information that may help you to perform well in a future interview, and may lead to this person becoming a champion or advocate for you when you apply. Read advice from Aditya Choudhary ‘16 on how to start the process.
Who to reach out to? The list is long: current colleagues at your internship or job, neighbors, family friends, professors, alumni, classmates–anyone who can give you information or advice that will help you in your job search. Use the Babson LinkedIn University page or the Babson Connector to research alum. Think back to extra-curricular conferences or events you attended, CCD events, High-School contacts, classroom visitors, or even your CLTP coach!
Step 1: Reach out via email/linkedin
Your initial contact should include a brief intro, and the mention of a mutual contact if appropriate; why you are getting in touch with them in particular, your interest in their job function, employer, or industry; and a request to connect. Usually you should ask for a 15-20 minute phone call or in-person chat if possible and be specific about your availability. We don’t advise including your resume in your initial outreach, as this may signal you are only contacting them to get the job. You may need to follow up once more within a few days, but if you do not hear back after two attempts, move on to your next contact.
Step 2: Prepare
You only have one chance to make a first impression. Prepare for your informational interview as you would an exam or presentation. Do some basic research on your contact’s career path and current company and prepare some interview questions. Remember, in this scenario, you are leading the interview.
Step 3: Thank you and Follow Up
Within 48 hours, send a thank-you via email or handwritten note expressing your appreciation and how you plan to follow up on any next steps. Did they mention someone else you should connect with? Ask for their contact details. Did they suggest you send your resume? Follow up! After your conversation, reflect on what you learned, note the contact in your spreadsheet, and think about ways to keep in touch going forward.
Summer is a great time to conduct informational interviews because business operations are generally slower and you may have more flexibility in your schedule. Start today by either making a list of 5 people you can practice your informational interviewing skills on, or starting to contact connections at the companies on your target list. If you’re at a busy internship this summer, make these calls over your lunch break, or ask your supervisor if you can take 30 minutes to make a call.
Want to practice an informational interview before going live? Schedule an appointment with The Hoffman Family Undergraduate Center for Career Development (CCD) through Handshake.