The Meeting: You are the Interviewer!
Remember, the purpose of this meeting is to gather information that will take you closer to your goal of getting a job. In this situation, you are the interviewer and it is your responsibility to direct the discussion. Your two main goals for each informational interview should be (1) making a positive impression upon your contact; and (2) leaving the interview with additional names of people you can contact.
- Dress appropriately
- Have a (stated) purpose and agenda
- Briefly establish rapport through “ice breaker” topics before moving on to interview questions
- Bring a copy of your resume
- Always try to get a referral (name, place or journal) before you end the meeting
- Ask for a business card so you will have the correct contact information for writing a thank you note and future communications
- Keep to the time limit initially requested - no matter how well it appears to be going; your contact will respect that you are using his/her time efficiently
Sample Questions to Ask
- How did you obtain your current position?
- What has been your career progression since graduating from law school?
- What do you like the most about your job? the least?
- How do you spend your day? How much time do you spend researching? How much time do you spend with clients?
- What kinds of skills are most essential for success in this field?
- Are there particular law school courses that you suggest?
- If you were a law student again, is there anything you might do differently?
- Where might I gain experience needed for a job in this field?
- How receptive is a firm to a candidate who has gained most of her experience in the public sector?
- Do you have any suggestions for improvements on my resume?
- Based upon my resume and our discussion, how suited is my background for the work you do?
- What types of experiences, would you recommend?
- What is most rewarding about working in this field?
- Is this legal area growing? How do you see it changing over the next few years?
- What professional journals/associations do you suggest I look into?
- How do people learn about open positions in this area? Are positions usually advertised, or are they often filled through word-of-mouth?
- Can you give me the names of other attorneys who may be helpful to me?
- May I use your name when I meet with others in this field?
- May I call you again?