After I graduated from my Masters program, I conducted about 40 informational interviews. A definition and methodology resulted. Using this very methodology, I expanded additional informational interviews into subsequent written articles on personal ambition and even industry analysis. My experience has led to giving talks throughout the Portland, OR-metropolitan area titled How and Why to Conduct Informational Interviews for Job Seekers, Professional Development and Networking. I’d like to share what I’ve learned with you.
Def. An informational interview is an opportunity to learn about a topic and establish an association or even a relationship with a practitioner.
The topic is foundational. Without the topic, there is no connection. Figuring the topic leads to inquiring for a meeting, and a basis upon which to hold a discussion. It’s amazing what can be learned from there…
Tell Me More
As opposed to obscuring intent associated with traditional informational interview requests, a topic is nonthreatening, and necessitates
- Focused expectation for both parties.
Establish An Association
Exchanging ideas creates association. Building upon common or differing perspectives furthers conversation, allows for deeper questions and deeper answers – and deeper personal association. Important, association is about connecting.
The Go-To Question!
Learn about the person behind the job. Let him or her define who he or she is as context for what he or she does, how his or her career came to this place, and above all, why this person does what he or she does.
Genuine value exchange forms a bond. Concern for, contribution toward and advocacy of the other person’s interests refine associations to something better. Give more than you get and everyone wins.
NOT the question What do you do?
NOT traditional networking
NOT about you…!
Some have called me an expert at informational interviewing. What does that mean, exactly? I am concerned with understanding the whole person, the people behind the job, and the whole business from within.
It should come as no surprise, then, that I support the ambitions of others to meet promise and potential.
My MBA is concentrated in Strategy. I have 20 years of work experience, most of which is in the field of organization development. Conducting informational interviews, I have engaged local professionals and written research-backed articles about their ambition.
Writing is fun, and so is sharing what I learn. I’ve given talks throughout the Portland-metropolitan region about informational interviewing, and more recently about scaling-up ones activities – recognizing one’s current resources and opportunities, and then pairing them with potentially new resources and opportunities through creativity, new possibilities and strategic fit.
I am heavily involved in the community, and I love coffee and fountain pens!