Holding informational interviews are one of the most efficient ways to learn about new roles, and get them, or simply advance your career and expand your professional network.
They provide an informal environment that helps you learn about the type of law or role you’re interested in and gain perspective from someone who has experienced it firsthand. Ultimately, these interviews are not only a chance to learn about a role, company and industry, but also an opportunity to make a connection with a lawyer in your future professional universe. On top of that, they can connect you to others in their universe, so the benefits of making these connections really start to stack up.
Note that informational interviews are not just for job-seekers. Making these types of professional connections can give you insights into how to progress along the career track you’re already on, and can ultimately lead to other opportunities down the road that are attractive to you.
Whether you want to explore new career avenues, boost your current professional path, or expand your network, use these tips and get the most from these impactful meetings.
Some minor preparation in advance will help you give the best impression and get the most out of the meeting. Bring along an organized list of questions specific to the type of law or lawyer you’ll be speaking to. Have a notebook and pen ready to take down notes and contact information.
Arrive early; this shows you are respectful of the person’s time as well as diligent with your own.
Express your gratitude to the interviewee for taking the time to meet with you and confirm with them the amount of time for the meeting is still reasonable and fits with their schedule.
Intently listen to your interviewee. Their priceless knowledge and wisdom in their profession could lead to crucial decisions in your job search.
Get What You Need
Ask the questions you brought and be sure to ask the ones that are most important to you first!
Ask for Help and Other Connections
Be clear about how they can help you most. Also, don’t hesitate to ask for additional contacts that you can reach out to and engage. Always ask permission to use your interviewee’s name as the source of referral to those connections.
Make It a Two-Way Street
Offer some ways you could be of service to them in return.
Know When to End It
Be respectful of the person’s time by wrapping up your meeting five or so minutes before your time is up. Follow the lead of your interviewee if they wish to lengthen your interview time–if a busy lawyer is willing to give you extra time, you should always take it!
Communicate how thankful you are for the interview.
Handwrite or email a follow up to say thank you and to let them know the advice, contacts or suggestions you have used.
Stay in Touch
If appropriate, occasionally update your interviewee to continue building your relationship as well as making them aware of your progress. An especially good time to do this is when you land your new job!
Keep a Look Out for Ways to Help
To show your utmost gratitude, try to repay the favor no matter how long it has been since your initial interview.
Research lawyers you’d like to meet with for an informational interview. Identify two people and email them to set up a meeting.