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.
Businesses are made of people.
Markets are made of people.
Industries are made of people.
So when motivated by a topic, how might one find the right people with whom to discuss that topic?
An INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEW is an opportunity to learn about a topic and establish an association or even a relationship with a practitioner.
Topic: The What
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.
Research: The Who
You know the topic. Search for the person.
LinkedIn profiles are an excellent resource. Become a Premium member to access unlimited profiles and send messages within the platform.
What To Look For:
The Ideal Profile
1—Open the profile.
2—Scroll to the bottom.
3—Unravel all clustered segments, e.g. Recommendations, Education, Experience, etc.
4—Read upward in chronological order.
1—Patterns and contrasts.
2—Depth of description.
3—Tone and voice of the writing.
4—Seriousness with which the profile was put together.
5—Harmony in the story, or meaningful imbalance.
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!