Have you heard about informational interviewing? It’s what you do before you decide to really go for that next job. It’s a great tool that I teach many of my clients how to use—even those who aren’t actively looking for a job.


Here’s the short of it: Before you apply for a job you want, you network to position yourself to get it. But before you network, you make certain that it’s the job you want by doing informational interviewing.


You have to paint yourself a mental picture of the work you want to do and then figure out where you have some blank or out-of-focus areas in that picture. You think you’d like to do “X” for a living, but you realize that you don’t know what the income range is for that work. Or you might want to know what skills would set you apart in that field. Or in that organization you’re thinking about.


Organizational interviewing starts with coming up with a detailed list of questions that, if answered, would get you closer to doing the work you want to do next in your career. And it ends with having the conversations with the right people who will help you answer them.


And just like networking has its own set of rules, best practices, and challenges, so does informational interviewing. I like this article from Harvard Business Review from 2016 that addresses how to get the most of an informational interview. You might want to check it out as you think about how to get closer to living your dream career.



Guillermo Villar is principal coach with Cambio Coaching. He helps high-achieving individuals and teams communicate with intention to get the business results they want.