June 25, 2024

The New Speed Dating: Informational Interviews

By Maggie Delaney

Forget Tinder and Hinge – if you’re an aspiring young professional the new dating platform is LinkedIn. I’m just kidding, but LinkedIn is the best platform for networking and furthering your professional development. Here’s a brief overview of informational interviews: how to schedule, how to prepare, and how to move on, after. 

The DM

You can’t go on a date with someone without asking them out first, right? Similarly, on LinkedIn, you can’t expect anyone to connect with and help you unless you ask them to. The first step is sliding into their DM’s, their LinkedIn DM’s that is. 

Messaging someone first, especially someone with the future job you want, can be an intimidating task. However, the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Start with simply connecting with the person you are trying to talk with. In most cases, I recommend sending a short message when sending your invitation to connect. Now, if you don’t have a premium subscription, you only have about 200 words to set your intention. Keep it short and to the point. 

Pro tip: If you have a mutual connection with the person you’re trying to reach, here is a good time to mention it. Also, look for people who may have gone to the same University as you. Alumni usually like to help out their alma mater. 

The Date

Now that you’ve secured the date, it’s time to go on it. Start by scheduling a time that works for both you and the interviewee. Like any interview, it’s important to prepare beforehand. Ask yourself what do I want to get out of this? And then tailor some questions regarding your intention. 

I always like to get a good gauge of the work-life balance at the given company I’m interviewing with because that’s important to me, but there are a bunch of different questions you can ask, as well. There is a LinkedIn article by Jenny Foss, that gives a lot of good examples of questions to ask and tricks and tips for all aspects of the interview. 

Bottomline, take a deep breath and let the interview move naturally. The person you’re interviewing has already agreed to talk to, which means they are willing to help you. 

The Aftermath

Not every date you go on will be with your soulmate, and the same can be said for informational interviews, too. You may interview someone who lets you in on some workplace culture that maybe isn’t up to your standard, or maybe you just no longer see yourself working for that company, and that’s okay, too. There’s always something you can take away from the conversation to use as you navigate your future career. 

Once the interview is finished, send them a thank you. It’s important to acknowledge that they took the time to speak with you, and you want to foster and maintain that connection. Keep them updated on what you’re up to. Continue to post on your LinkedIn with projects you’re working on, job updates and more. You never know who the other person may know and can connect you with to help you in the future.

Keep up to date on my professional development by connecting with me on LinkedIn.

7 thoughts on “The New Speed Dating: Informational Interviews

  1. Great job Maggie! I loved your take on how LinkedIn can be looked at as a way to “date” professionally. I also liked how you formatted your piece to be a how-to with step by step instructions on how to approach this situation. It was really easy and enjoyable to read with a relatability to it as well. We are all aspiring professionals looking for new ways to speak to one another in the real world and I think your blog really captured that idea!

  2. Hey Maggie! I loved your post and how you talked about the different ways to use LinkedIn. I know that when I first started out on LinkedIn I had no idea what I was doing, and the thought of DMing someone on there was a terrifying thought. I think that your blog was really beneficial! Great job!

  3. Hi Maggie, my favorite part of this article was the humor. It was an engaging read and I agree with you on a lot of the points you made, specifically about the “date” aspect being a time to really evaluate if the job is up to the standards you are seeking.

  4. Hi Maggie, I love the humor and personality you brought to this post! Informational interviews were nerve wracking for me at first, but they’ve gotten easier the more I’ve done them. I appreciate you pointing out work life balance.

  5. Maggie!! This was such a creative and thoughtful post. I love how you took the popular dating app trend and transformed it into how we should be networking on LinkedIn. When you put it in those terms like that, it really is a form of speed dating! I also liked how you emphasized not every “date” goes perfectly, and that that’s okay because there’s different things you can still get out of it. Great job!

  6. Hi Maggie!
    This was hilarious to read and I found the parallels that you pointed out to be scarily true…
    LinkedIn has always been a part of the conversation, but within this last year it seems like it’s all about creating a solid LinkedIn profile. I think this is a creative and playful angle to approach the sometimes stressful concept of LinkedIn!!

  7. Hey Maggie,
    I thought your blog was really interesting connecting LinkedIn as a dating website for employees and employers alike. Now that I’ve read your article, there are a lot of strikingly similar trends between dating apps and LinkedIn. Though treating LinkedIn the same as a dating app might have its drawbacks because I know it should be taken more seriously than casual dating. That being said, I think its also up to us to find the right employer just as it is trying to find the right person to date and I think looking around before settling down is important.

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