An information interview is a way for you to gather information about working in a specific field or company with tasks that interest you. The interview makes it possible for you to get insider perspective and explore possibilities and opportunities you might not have thought about. It is an informal way to network – without the pressure of a job interview.

How to find someone to interview? One way is to look for a person who has an interesting job that you want to hear more about and contacting them via phone/email/LinkedIn. Most of the people get excited when somebody is interested in their work and career path, and will most likely accept your invitation for an information interview. During the interview, you are the one asking questions, and you should get to know as much as possible about the organisation before the actual meeting. An information interview is not a job interview and you should not schedule an interview just as an opportunity to find a job.

We interviewed Paulina, who was a participant in the My Finnish Career coaching in spring 2022 (part of the UNICOM – Uniting Companies and International University Talents project). As part of the coaching, she conducted an information interview with an interesting expert.

1. Tell us about yourself and about what you are doing in Finland

– I am a master student at Turku School of Economics, now I am about to start my second year in global innovation management. I did my bachelor in Colombia and always wanted to do my master abroad, so here I am not only doing that, but also discovering a world of possibilities around me! Every challenge, every experience, I try to see the positive sides, embrace them and be aware of the things that I can learn.

2. How did you find a person to contact for the information interview? How did you contact them?

– Last year during an intensive week of courses, I decided to take “Mergers and acquisitions” as an optional course of my master. The lectures had guest speakers, and at the end of one session, the lecturer told about the opportunity to get in touch with him for further questions, so when I saw the information interview assignment I thought it was the perfect opportunity. I liked the company and the topic and I could see myself doing that. I emailed him asking him if there was a possibility for me to join the team for a day and talk about the working environment, but for confidentiality matters, it was not possible so we agreed on having coffee at the office and talk about his work.

3. What was the most interesting thing you learned during your experience?

– The most interesting thing was to see that there is a possibility of the academia and the industry to collaborate and share knowledge. To get to know the company, to share experiences and learn about how the team works, the values and the day-to-day tasks was amazing!

4. What questions were the most beneficial for you to ask?

– I had a list of questions but the conversation was evolving and more questions were coming up. I wanted to know how the work environment of the team was, how the communication between peers and managers was, and if the tasks consisted of monotonous operation or if it was changing.

5. What was a positive surprise about the interview? What were you left thinking about after the interview?

– The fact that I enjoyed a lot was that this was even a possible to be done! I have added to my career path that once I am in any other industry I will like to open the door to the students so they can see a little bit more of what is working life can be, how there are a lot of types of work, types of people. It is a very fruitful experience.

6. How did the discussion affect your career planning?

– I keep thinking that this type of work is something that I want to try, I have the feeling that based on who I am I will enjoy working in a changing environment.

7. Tips for others planning to ask for an information interview?

– I appreciate the F2F meetings and I think it gets more intimate and it is possible to do follow up questions easily. I would say to others that just give it a try! I feel that in Finland people are open to share and talk, couple of minutes or an hour and this can help each of us to have a broader understanding of working options and it might give us a light on the path that each of us want to pursue.

Example questions to ask in the information interview
• What are the work tasks like?
• What are the biggest challenges in your job?
• What kind of personal qualities help to succeed in the job?
• How do you think the field will develop during the next ten years?
• Is there something you wish someone would have told you when you started working?
• How did you get this job? What does your career path look like?
• What kind of educational background do you have?
• What kind of skills were emphasized in the job interview for this position?

Read more about and apply for the My Finnish Career coaching, where participants get to know more about the Finnish working life and hear each other’s information interviews:

Text: University of Turku Career Services