How to Find and Select a Professional for an Informational Interview

The place to start this activity is to develop a list of individuals to interview by utilizing your own personal network.  That can include family, friends, supervisors, advisors, and/or mentors or, as a next best alternative, consider employers you have interacted with at career fairs, information sessions, conferences, trade associations or networking events.  Another option can be to register for and then utilize the Husky Mentor Network to find UConn alumni interested in connecting with current students.  The Husky Mentor Network can be an excellent resource as it offers a ready-made list of willing UConn alumni who have already agreed to engage with UConn students.  Additionally, make use of professional social media, such as LinkedIn, to connect with professionals, companies, or alumni in your field of interest.

So exactly how do you go about selecting likely candidates to conduct this activity with, and then deciding whom among them as the optimal one to select as the lucky interviewee?  First, try your best to ascertain your occupational interest(s), or something you really want to learn more about in the world of work.  Someone from either of those lists who works for your dream company (or a similar firm), and has your dream job is more likely to be the kind of individual where you’ll get the best return on the investment of time and effort.   Consider what your target candidates do at their companies.   Ideally, you’ll want to focus on those people that are in aspirational roles, but who aren’t so high up in the management ranks that they won’t have time to chat with you.  Also, seek out people you have some sort of connection with—for example, by using LinkedIn, identify someone who went to UConn or has a shared personal, academic or professional connection, as that person will be more likely to be receptive to your request for an informational interview.

If you follow those steps you will be well on your way to arranging and conducting a successful informational interview.

Paul Gagnon


By Paul Gagnon
Paul Gagnon Career Consultant, College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources Paul Gagnon