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Join Isaiah as he explains what is the best way to ask for an informational interview, ensuring that your connection doesn’t feel pressured
Here’s a quick rundown of this week’s episode…
- First, Isaiah presentes the best way to ask for an informational interview without directly asking for one
- Next, Isaiah discusses the importance of clarity and politeness when asking for an informational interview
- Finally, Isaiah gives a full script you can use to ask fro an informational interview while keeping the intensity of your request low
From This Week’s Show…
What Is The Best Way To Ask For An Informational Interview
The most important part of an informational interview is how you request one. If your requests are open-ended or intense, the other party will pass or ignore you completely.
When requesting an interview in person or by phone or video, always be very clear about how much of the other person’s time you’re going to take. Clarity and politeness are crucial here.
Never ask someone for a moment of their time or open-ended questions like, “Do you have time later this week for a short conversation?” And, of course, as I already emphasized, never mention an “informational interview.”
Instead, ask for a very small and specific amount of time on a specific day during a specific block of time with only one alternate day and time. For example, ask, “Are you free tomorrow any time between 12 and 3 p.m. or Wednesday between 9 and 11 a.m. for a quick, three-minute call?”
How To Set Yourself For Success By Being Exact With Your Request
I recommend suggesting three or seven minutes instead of five, ten, or fifteen because it’s specific and not rounded to the nearest five or ten. Rounding to the nearest five or ten is usually code for “I’m estimating and this could take much longer.”
Be exact. Show them right away that you’ve thought this through and are not going to waste their time. You should also specify the topic in your requests. Don’t make them guess your intentions. Don’t even make them guess how you’re going to phrase your questions.
Instead, say, “Are you free tomorrow anytime between 12 and 3 p.m. or Wednesday between 9 and 11 a.m. for a quick, three-minute call? I’d love to ask you two quick questions about how you got hired at company XYZ and what you enjoy about it.”
The Final Script You Should Use When Asking For An Informational Interview
Most importantly, keep the intensity of your request low. Don’t make your conversation a big deal. Don’t make it hard for them to commit by acting like they are the only reason you’re getting out of bed in the morning.
Never say, “I’ve set aside time tomorrow and would love to call you and talk with you about your career.” That’s too intense. Instead, say, “I’ll be making some work calls tomorrow around noon and would love to give you a quick call too.”
Altogether, you might say, “I’ll be making some work calls tomorrow around noon and would love to ask you two quick questions about how you got hired at company XYZ and what you enjoy about it. This would only take three minutes. Are you free any time between 12 and 3 p.m., or I could do Wednesday between 9 and 11 a.m. too. No worries if not.”
Once you leverage this or a similar script to secure an informational interview, it’s time to prepare for it, which we will discuss in the next Transition Report.
If you’re ready to start your transition into industry, you can apply to book a free Transition Call with our founder Isaiah Hankel, PhD or one of our Transition Specialists. Apply to book a Transition Call here.