Before the Informational Interview
Email your contact a day before the interview to confirm the place and time and that they are still available to meet. You might go to their office/organization so you can learn more about it (it may also be most convenient for them), but you might meet over lunch or in a coffee shop.
Do Research Before the Meeting
Try to learn as much about the organization before the informational interview. This will give more insight to the organization’s professional culture and answer many questions before hand. Being informed will let the contact know that you are seriously interested in their organization. This also avoids wasted time by not asking questions easily found online.
Prepare a list of Questions
It is important to have a list of questions that you plan to ask. This will help keep the informational interview on topic and show the interviewee that you have prepared and are seriously interested in learning more about the organization or career. It is a good idea to anticipate answers to some of the questions and be prepared with follow up questions to clarify something.
Dress in business attire; visit our website for information and tips for appropriate outfits. Like you would for any professional interview, give yourself plenty of time to travel and arrive 5-10 minutes early. Remember, an informational interview is a good time to make a first impression on a potential future employer. During the day you may meet with people in the organization responsible for hiring. Remember the rule “be as friendly to the janitor as you are to the CEO” and be polite and professional to anyone you may come in contact with. Bring a notebook and a pen in order to take notes and refer to your list of prepared questions. Bring a copy of your resume (only provide if they ask for it).