Getting Hired: Informational Interviews

Getting Hired: Informational Interviews

A successful job search starts with networking, but how can you take it a step further?

The answer is to ask for an informational interview. An informational interview is a meeting in which a job seeker seeks advice on their career, the industry, and the corporate culture of a potential workplace. Although it may seem awkward to request an informational interview with a stranger or an acquaintance, there are many benefits to an informal conversation about a potential role or employer.

Informational Interviews are a great way for job seekers to learn more about a company, industry or position. Susan, a search consultant for marketing professionals and a volunteer with Hire Heroes USA, tells clients that many employers use informational interviews as a tool for their business. “With unemployment at an all-time low, the smart companies will use informational interviewing as a recruiting tool to build a pipeline of potential candidates whether or not they have a current opening.”

So, how do you start the process of asking for an informational interview?

Step 1: Research
Prior to initiating contact with someone, do your research and make sure you understand the general landscape of the industry. This information will help you create a list of relevant questions to ask during an informational interview

Step 2: Find Contacts
Steve, a certified professional coach and volunteer with Hire Heroes USA, provides this insight on knowing who to ask for an informational interview: “Ask people who are in the types of positions/careers that [you are] seeking to learn about/get into.” A great place to look for connections is on LinkedIn, where you can search people by job titles, companies and industries, and identify connections you have already established.

Step 3: Initiate Contact
Connect via a LinkedIn message or email. The initial contact doesn’t need to be extensive or include a wealth of detail. Keep it concise and professional like the example below.

Hi Mrs. Thompson,

My name is John, and I’m gearing up to make a switch to the Information Security field. I see you have a wealth of experience in that area, and I’d appreciate the opportunity to hear your perspective on the industry and what it’s like to work with your company. I know you’re busy, so I’d appreciate even a 10-minute phone call to pick your brain. I hope to hear from you soon.


John Smith

Step 4: Conduct the Interview
Prepare for the conversation in the same way you would prepare for a formal interview. The only difference is that you will be asking the questions! Gather information on the position, company and industry, and prepare 3-5 questions to ask. Here are some examples:

  • What stood out about your current company and position over others in the field?
  • What is the most rewarding and most challenging part of working in this industry?
  • What experiences, skills, or personality traits do companies in the field generally look for in new hires?

Dress in business casual attire, remain courteous and professional during the conversation, and thank the person for their time. Remember, an informational interview is all about relationship building and making a positive image so if a position develops they will think of you. An informational interview is not the time to ask for a job.

Step 5: Follow Through
After the interview, write a thank you note or email. Beyond the thank you note, be sure to follow-up with your new connection periodically to update them on your job search. Informational interviewees are a long-term part of your job search.

“Think of informational interviews as seeds you’re planting for the success of your farm (career),” Steve says. “Once planted, they have to be managed and tended to and grown to ensure quality (growth of relationship).”

Written by Erin Kuhlmann, Hire Heroes USA Development Coordinator

Valentine’s Day: Volunteer Spotlight on Jim and Ruth

Photo Jim and Ruth

In honor of Valentine’s Day, we are highlighting a couple who volunteers together to show veterans how much they care. Jim and Ruth have been married for 40 years and began volunteering with Hire Heroes USA in 2017. They have helped many veterans since then and have so far spent over 20 hours volunteering. Often they will take on mentoring sessions jointly, which is a real benefit to clients since they have a combined 60 years of experience within the information technology field. Their wealth of experience enables them to encourage our clients to see a bigger picture of how their experience translates to jobs in the civilian workforce.

Q: Why do you volunteer with Hire Heroes USA?

Of all the people in this country that need help and support (and there are many), Jim and I count veterans among the most deserving of groups.  They have made sacrifices that few of us have ever made – many of them voluntarily – and so they are the 1% of the American populace that truly deserve our respect and honor.  We felt that we needed to do more than simply thank our veterans for their service, and volunteering with Hire Heroes USA is one small way that we can attempt to pay back a debt that cannot be ever fully repaid. 

We enjoy our counseling sessions and mock interviews with our clients and find it truly rewarding to assist them with a leg up and hopefully move them closer to finding employment in their chosen fields.  Every single client we’ve spoken with has impressed us with their dedication, and we’ve found their unique backgrounds offer prospective employers a set of skills that can be applied to their career pursuits in so many ways.

We’re looking forward to assisting these remarkable people for many years to come.

You can show your #LoveForVets by making a gift to Hire Heroes USA! Help us support veterans and military families with your contribution toward free, professionally-written resumes, career coaching and mentoring.

Hire Heroes USA Announces 30,000 Veterans Hired into Meaningful Jobs

Top–rated Veteran Employment Non-profit Empowers Veterans and Military Spouses to Secure Meaningful Jobs

Today, Hire Heroes USA announced reaching a milestone of 30,000 veterans hired into jobs since its inception. The national nonprofit is a leader in the veteran employment space, providing personalized job search assistance to transitioning US military members, veterans and military spouses.

Through a unique service delivery model that pairs clients with individual Transition Specialists – many of whom are veterans and/or military spouses themselves – the organization provides expert, personalized service and support including resume, networking and interview assistance, online workshops, training modules, virtual career fairs and an exclusive job board with over 290,000 job listings in 2018. Last year, Hire Heroes clients had an average starting salary of $57,000.

“As we observe this major milestone, we remember that our work is bigger than the numbers. We celebrate the impact of our programs on every individual client we serve; and we also celebrate the generosity of every individual, foundation and corporate supporter who made our work possible with a commitment to giving back to veterans,” said Hire Heroes USA CEO Christopher Plamp, a retired Air Force combat pilot. “Even one unemployed or underemployed veteran is one too many. We’ll stay focused on the mission until each man and woman who has served is empowered to find meaningful employment.”

Over the years, Hire Heroes USA has seen exponential growth in the number of clients it helps each year, starting with three hires in 2007. The organization has set an ambitious goal of 10,000 veterans and military spouses hired in 2019.

“Helping veterans secure meaningful employment was the laser focused mission when Hire Heroes saw its first hire,” said John Bardis, Hire Heroes USA founder and chairman of the board of directors. “As we celebrate 30,000 hires today, I am proud that we’ve stayed true to that single mission and are poised to do even more in the years to come.”

About Hire Heroes USA: 
Hire Heroes USA is the leading veteran service organization specifically targeting the issues of underemployment and unemployment among veterans. Funding for the nonprofit’s services is exclusively through private grants and public donations. Hire Heroes USA has earned 
Charity Navigator’s highest possible 4-star rating for a fourth consecutive year and it also has a GuideStar Platinum Seal of Transparency. For more information about our mission, services and how to get involved as a corporate partner, employment partner, donor or volunteer, visit and follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Instagram.