By: Chiyomi McKibbin
Whether you’ve identified what you want to pursue as your next opportunity, or you are still trying to narrow down what’s next, we suggest asking people, who have a job title or career path that you’re seeking, to engage in a short “informational interview.”
An informational interview is basically just a conversation. It’s a low-pressure way for you to ask questions about what they do, what aspects of their job they like, some of the things they wish they didn’t have to do, and how they got to where they are. Particularly when you’re in the active search phase, let your network know! It could be as simple as dropping folks a quick note on LinkedIn or by text. You never know when a friend or colleague might suggest a useful connection. We find that in the movement space, people are very supportive of one another and are excited to talk about the work they do.
We believe the keys to a successful informational interview are:
- Keep it brief (30 minutes or less)
- Do your research and prepare your questions beforehand (the UC Berkeley Career Center has a great list to get you started)
- Follow up to thank the individual for their time
When I was trying to determine what I wanted next out of my career, I was connected to Linda Nguyen, founder of Movement Talent. Prior to meeting Linda, I had had numerous conversations with other people trying to figure out what I wanted to do, and each conversation helped me to narrow down and get a better understanding about myself and what I want to spend my time doing. The call with Linda was purely to learn more about recruiting in the movement space, but after learning more about her journey and the mission of Movement Talent, I knew this was exactly the type of work I wanted to move into. For me, that conversation with Linda ended up being the right connection at the right time.
Informational interviews may seem a bit awkward at first, but challenging yourself to engage in these conversations may just lead to your next job opportunity. And if you have a friend who is looking to figure out their next move, share that info amongst your network, and help them make connections, too.