Information Interviewing – The Interview (Part 4/5)

Post Date: April 16th, 2015

You’ve selected whom you’d like to interview, what you’d like to learn, contacted and emailed the interviewee your questions and resume, and scheduled the interview.  This week, let’s look at what will make this a successful interview.

First and foremost, be on time, or even 5 minutes early if you’re meeting in person.

Second, feel free to bring 2 print outs of the questions you’d like to ask – one for each of you.

During the interview, make sure that you ask the most important questions first, so that you don’t run out of time before you get to them.  Another approach is to ask if your interviewee would like to run through and answer the questions, or do more of a free-flow sharing.  I’ve tried both methods and they can both work well.  If the interviewee chooses the free-flow approach, keep an eye on the time to make sure that have them focus on your top 1-2 questions if they haven’t touched on them by that point.

At the 18 minute mark, start to wrap up.  Acknowledge that the 20 minutes you’ve requested are just about up, and if you have additional questions, you may request scheduling another time to talk.  If they decline, wrap things up quickly and thank them for sharing.  They may offer to continue the conversation a few more minutes.  If so, I recommend that you limit your questions to only 1 or 2 more to again be respectful of their time.

As you wrap up the interview, two great questions to ask are: Is there anyone else you think I should speak with?  And, is there anything else you think would be helpful for me to know?

Finally, if you feel like you’ve connected well, you might request if you can stay in touch with them to ask any follow up questions and/or share your progress.

To your success,

Gwyneth Anne


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