How to ask for an information meeting without appearing insistent?

How to ask for an information meeting without appearing insistent?

Informational interviews are a great resource if you want to change professional roles, or are moving into a new industry. They can also allow you to expand your network and provide you with first-hand information to continue your career.

But a rambling interview request sent out of the blue can backfire. So how do you organize informational interviews in a professional way?

Step by step: how to organize an information meeting?

So you want to organize an information meeting. How to go about it ? Our guide will help you set up interviews without seeming too pushy.

1. Decide that you won’t let fear get in your way.

Reaching out to a stranger to set up an interview can be awkward. Your gut might tell you to avoid contacting people. But don’t let fear stop you. Reach out to your network to make contacts to lay the groundwork for an informational interview. And give yourself permission to make mistakes. Instead of worrying about not being able to deliver the “perfect message”, just be confident and polite.

2. Decide who you want to talk to

The purpose of an information interview is to obtain information. So think carefully about who you want to talk to. Who are the people who will help you achieve your professional goals?

Then reach out to friends and family to see if they can put you in touch with someone in a target position. You can also rely on your alumni network, LinkedIn connections or professional networking sites. Tools like LinkedIn allow you to filter out employees of a company who attended your school.

3. Reach out

Getting in touch is often the most daunting step in setting up an information meeting. So focus on a short and clear request.

Use email or LinkedIn to send a brief message. Be specific in your request and personalize your contact. Mention the reason why you are reaching out to them. If you attended the same university or recently read one of their blog posts, mention it briefly.

Adopt an authentic, warm and professional tone. Don’t be stuffy or robotic.

And be specific. Ask if they’re open to a brief informational conversation and offer meeting options, such as a phone call, in-person coffee, or email questions.

Respect their time and don’t waste it. And avoid giving the impression that you are desperate for a job.

4. If you don’t get a response, follow up

You may not get a response after your first request. Wait at least three days to follow up. Ideally, give them a week to respond. Remember you’re asking them a favor, so don’t act like you’re entitled to their time.

Send a brief, polite follow-up. If you don’t get a response after a follow-up, move on. You can always contact people in similar roles or working in the same company.

5. Prepare for your meeting and do your research

If you receive a response, prepare before your interview. Be sure to give the impression of being well informed. Your new contact could be a reference for you in the future. So do your research.

Examine his professional and educational background to find commonalities that you can bring up during the informational interview.

Before your meeting, prepare a list of questions. Ask him how he got to his current job and what responsibilities he has on a day-to-day and long-term basis. Be spontaneous during the interview, but be sure to cover the main points.

6. Conduct your informational interview

Begin your informational interview by showing appreciation for their time and expertise. Be friendly and trust their experience. And be sure to show a respectful interest during the conversation. Be a good listener and ask follow-up questions.

Avoid flattering them, but express your appreciation for their ideas. And ask permission before taking notes or recording the conversation.

Pay attention to their time. Make sure the interview doesn’t drag on.

After an informational interview, send a brief thank you email and mention the takeaways from your conversation.

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