As we continue to post success stories from NIH alumni in our “NIH Alumni: Where are they now?” series, readers of this blog have seen and will continue to see the term, “informational interview.” While aptly named, many readers may be asking: What is an informational interview? How do I set one up? What type of questions should I ask? What, besides information, should I expect to get out of an informational interview?
First you should understand the purpose of an informational interview. It is to gain information, not a job. You are asking a person who works in a field, a position or a company of interest to you about their job and career path. The interview is not about you and your aspirations. It is about the person you are interviewing. However, a successful informational interview will build your knowledge base and your network by at least one person.