By Olivia Fallen, Career & Industry Specialist
Due to the current crisis, recruiting and the hiring process has gone completely virtual. Thus, networking through informational interviews is becoming increasingly important in order for individuals to continue with their career development and learn about new professional opportunities.
Informational interviews are meetings to learn about the real-life experience of someone working in a field or company that interests you. Keep in mind, this is not a job interview, so it's important to keep focused on getting information, not a job offer. With that being said, informational interviews are an incredible way to network with industry professionals, learn about possible opportunities, and make connections. Oftentimes, the interviewee can give you insider knowledge about their company culture, skills needed, as well as other information that you wouldn’t otherwise be privy to. This information is especially important now, as networking is a possible way to land a job and stay up-to-date on changing industry trends. You can find example questions to ask in the interview here.
Whenever I review the benefits of informational interviews in my advising appointments, the follow-up question students always ask is, “Where can I find these professionals?” Fortunately, you can connect with these individuals in a number of different ways including ASU Mentor Network, LinkedIn, or friends and family.
ASU Mentor Network is a platform that allows you to engage with the greater ASU community including alumni, faculty and staff and community members. Additionally, the website has filters where you can look for professionals based on their industry, location, etc. LinkedIn is another great tool to connect with professionals and ASU alumni. On the ASU LinkedIn page, click the alumni button and from there, you can view over 370,00 alumni on the platform. Lastly, don’t neglect tapping into the network of your friends, family, and ASU faculty and staff. They can be some of the best people to connect you with other colleagues and may also be willing to put in a good word with professionals they know.
Once you’ve found the professional you’d like to interview, I would recommend drafting up a concise message explaining who you are and why you contacted them. An example might be, “Hello, my name is Olivia Fallen, and I’m a current psychology student at ASU. I see that you also attended ASU and currently work as a Psychiatrist. I would love to learn more about your professional experiences and was wondering if you had 20 minutes to speak over the phone for an informational interview? I look forward to hearing from you.”
Lastly, once you’ve completed the interview, make sure you send them a thank you email for their time. Additionally, it’s always beneficial to follow up with them after some time has passed to let them know you’ve taken their advice (if you have) and enjoyed speaking with them. By keeping up with your network, you may be rewarded by learning of future internships, full-time opportunities, and gain additional connections. Overall, informational interviewing is an extremely effective way to network, learn about the best preparation for certain roles, and stay abreast of possible opportunities.