Informational Meetings

Why:  The Informational Meeting, also called Information Interview, is contacting individuals who have information useful to your career or job search and arranging a meeting time to discuss your search.  If differs from a job interview in that your objective here is to gain information to help with your search.  It is often the best source for information on your field or a specific company.

How:  Five easy steps
Step 1:  Locate potential sources for Information
• Use LinkedIn or other networking to find persons in the position I seek
• Officers in professional associations covering my discipline
• Other:  Civic leaders , headhunters, clergy

Step 2:  Plan your telephone script to call sources
Plan both your script if you reach the source, as well as a voice mail message.  Write a draft of what you will say.
1)  Introduction:  “Hello, Mr/Ms.________________________, this is ________________.”
2)  State reason for targeting this source:    “____________________________suggested that I call you.”   Or  “I recently heard you  speak at the ___________________ meeting.”  Etc.
3)  State why you are calling:  “I am seeking a position in [your industry] and feel that you could give me some valuable advice to help me in my job search.”  Or  “As the president of _____ association, you are in a good position to offer me advice.”
4)  State why you are not calling:  “I am not calling for a job interview, but rather to gain information to use in my job search.”
5)  Ask for a time: “Would you give me 15 minutes of your time next week?” 
6)  Establish a convenient time for your source.

Step 3:  Plan the meeting
• First answer these questions:

Why did you choose this person for an Informational Meeting?
What information do you expect to learn from him/her?
What are your goals for the meeting?

• With those answers, now plan what questions you will ask to yield that information.
• Your last question will always be, “Whom else would you suggest that I contact?  May I use your name when I call?”

Step #4:  Critique and analyze your Informational Meeting
• Did I meet my goals and expectations for this interview?  If not, why?
• What did I learn from this Informational Meeting?
• What I will I do differently on my next Informational Meeting?
• Is this a viable option for me?

Step #5:  Follow through
• What action do I take now?