Guidelines for Completing the Informational Interview Report and Presentation

Guidelines for Completing the Informational Interview Report and Presentation

(120 points possible)

Seek out one or two individuals currently working in the career field you selected (these individuals should not be in the student’s immediate family).  Request a 20-30 minute in-person or telephone interview.

Note: most students procrastinate obtaining this interview, and most students report that this is one of the most valuable learning experiences from this class. 

Assignment Instructions

Type a 1-2 page report (formatted as a narrative paper) which includes:

  1. The interviewee’s contact information (name, title, company/organization).  Try to get a business card for your future reference.
  2. How you found your professional interviewee; why you chose this individual; why you are interested in their job or company.
  3. A description of the interviewee’s job responsibilities including what they like/don’t like about their job.
  4. Interesting things about the interviewee’s background, education and/or job history.
  5. Advice the interviewee had for pursuing this career or exploring something related.
  6. How what you learned in this interview affects your career plans and/or how it influences what you will do next.  Include your Career Decision Pyramid Reflection form (on Canvas under the Assignments tab).
  7. At least 1-2 referrals, which are names of other individuals at companies or organizations where you might follow up for additional informational interviews and include person’s name & contact information in your report.  Note: People may be cautious about sharing their contacts with others.  Pose the question in a way they could comfortably say “no”, such as “might there be someone else you would recommend I speak with?”
  8. Class Presentation
    1. During the last week of class you will be asked to share highlights of your informational interview in 5-10 minutes, including your conclusion and next steps. 
    1. Come prepared; this should be a professional presentation that you conduct in a group setting.
    1. Clearly identify what you have gained from the learning objectives of this course.
    1. Focus on your informational interview and the lessons learned.
    1. Reflect on your first assignment regarding the Career Decision Pyramid, have you moved in the Pyramid?  Why or why not?
  9. Make sure to also submit your completed Career Decision Pyramid Reflection End of the Quarter form.
  10. *Please make sure to spell and grammar check your paper.

Guidelines for conducting an Informational Interview

Setting up the Interview

  1. Consult the UWB Career Services website for informational interviewing information http://www.uwb.edu/careers/job-search-tools/informationalinterviewing
  2. Call or email to request an interview.  Ask for 20-30 minutes of time with the person in the position you want to learn about.  (You will probably need to schedule an appointment.)
  3. State your reason clearly. Example: “I’m a student at the University of Washington Bothell and I’m doing a career research project for a class.  I am interested in ___________ and was wondering if you/someone would be willing to meet with me for 20-30 minutes to answer a few questions and give me some information/advice?” 
    (Be clear that you are not applying for a job.)
  4. Arrange to meet at a place and time that are most convenient for the professional.

  Preparing for the Interview 

  1. Research the occupation before you go.  This will familiarize you with some of the terminology and ideas you may encounter.  Find out something about the organization as well.  Visit the company website or conduct industry/company research. Review their LinkedIn profile, if possible.
  2. Review the questions you will be asking.  A potential question list is on our informational interview website and can be a guide, but feel free to ask others you may have.  Have your written questions along with you at the interview.

 Conducting the Interview

  1. Briefly introduce yourself and state your purpose. Incorporate your “Elevator Speech”.
  2. Use the list of questions from the website above during the interview to avoid “going blank”.  (Add your own also.)
  3. Use your time well.  The time will go by quickly, so listen actively and ask follow-up questions if you are unclear about something. It’s okay to take notes.
  4. Ask if there is anyone else they would recommend you speak with as well.  “Do you know of anyone else in this or a related field that I might talk to?” (This is asking for a referral!)
  5. Thank the person for their time. Ask for their business card.
  6. Immediately send a brief “thank you” note or letter. You should always send a thank you note to anyone you interview for information. It is a professional courtesy but it also makes a huge impression.  The note can be handwritten on a card or typed.  Express your appreciation for the time spent with you and the content shared. It’s also an opportunity to add anything that you might have forgotten to say in the interview.  Email is also an option but snail mail leaves a lasting impression.

 Evaluating Your Information

 Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do I understand what the job/occupation entails?
  2. Does this person use the skills I want to use?
  3. What do I need to do to become qualified for this job?  Do I want to do that?
  4. Would I enjoy working in this capacity?
  5. What alternatives were mentioned?
  6. What positive (or negative) impression do I now have about this area of work?
  7. What information do I still need to know to make a good decision?
  1.  
  Grading Rubric: Earned Points Possible Points
The interviewee’s contact information (name, title, company/organization).  5
Tell how you found your professional interviewee; why you chose this individual; why you are interested in their job or company. 5
Description of the interviewee’s job responsibilities including what they like/don’t like about their job.   15
Interesting things about the interviewee’s background, education, job history.   10
Advice the interviewee has for pursuing this career or exploring something related.   15
How what you learned in this interview affects your career plans and/or how it influences what you will do next. Include your completed Career Decision Pyramid Reflection End of Quarter form.   20
Obtain and include at least 1-2 referrals, which are names of other individuals at companies or organizations where you might follow up with for additional informational interviews and include person’s name & contact information in your report.    10
Class Presentation     40
Total Score   120
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