By: Daniela Reeve
Major: Economics and Statistics & Minor: Mathematics
Expected Graduation: May 2018
Like many students, I did not know what informational interviews are or why I should do one, before this past summer. A coworker put me in touch with a recruiter for the Federal Reserve Board, and recommended I set up an informational interview. One of the career coaches explained that informational interviews are for people looking into working for an employer but want to know more first. They are essentially interviews where the recruiter is interviewed on questions about the company that are not explained on their website/job postings.
After I had the contact information for the recruiter, I had to reach out about setting up an informational interview. This was probably the hardest part, because it wasn’t applying for a job or anything else that they had initiated. I had to be the one to email them first about setting up a time to meet. I emailed the recruiter like I would any potential employer, with a professional, polite email. I let her tell me when would work best because I wanted to be as accommodating as possible, as she was taking time out of her day to meet with me. We decided on meeting at her office, but you could also give the option of having one at a coffee shop or other meeting place.
Once the meeting was set up, I started making up my questions. I wanted to ask questions that were not too complicated, but specific to me. One question that I asked had to do with my experiences working in positions where at least half of my coworkers were women, and working under only female supervisors. Traci, the recruiter, was able to answer most of my questions, but for the more specific questions about their internships with the economists there, she put me in the direction for getting those questions answered. She introduced me to one of the interns so that I could get a better idea of the internship program, who then went on to give me a tour and introduce me to other interns that were working in areas I was more interested in.
Although an informational interview is not a job interview, it is with a potential future employer, so it was something I prepared for and take seriously. I prepared for it by updating my resume, forming my questions before-hand, and asking career coaches questions about it before-hand. I used the guide on informational interviews that the CCS provides to help prepare.
It is now October, and since meeting with Traci this summer, she has come to me with a couple of opportunities for interviews. While an informational interview will not guarantee a job interview or any other employment opportunity, it is a way to let a recruiter know who you are and that you are interested in the firm. Overall, an informational interview helped me get my name out there, learn more about a place I have some interest in working, and can helped me feel more comfortable in the interviews I’ve had with the Fed since the informational interview.