Telephoning someone with a request for an informational interview is a whole different ball game than making the request by email. Sometimes there is no alternative. Before you make the call, you need to be prepared as if you were about to meet them in person. Sometimes you can call someone at a good time and they might decide to give you time when you call.
You may need to get past reception
They are deflecting telemarketers all day, so sometimes it can be tricky to get past these gatekeepers.
• Sometimes something as simple as "[person's name] please" is enough to get you through.
• Other times reception may say something like "What's this about please?" Then you (hopefully) can say something like "[person's name] colleague [colleagues name] from [colleague's workplace] suggested that I call [persons name] to gain some industry insights". Often reception will take a moment to check before putting you through. Sometimes they'll just say something like "sorry, [persons name] is unavailable to take your call."
Now, here's your last chance. Using your nicest voice and best manners, you might say something along the lines of "I'm sorry to hear that. I'm a recent graduate and was just hoping to get some career advice. Would it be possible to have their email address?" With an email address, you can send them an email invitation.
If they answer the phone, start by introducing yourself
Hello. My name is [your name]. Is that [their name]?
Then tell them how you know them.
• I came across your profile on LinkedIn / read your book / attended a lecture at college / …
• [persons name] from [business / social scene] suggested that I call you to request an informational interview.
Do you have a couple of minutes to spare?
• If yes then continue to the next step.
• If no then you might say something like, I was hoping to talk to you about making a time for an informational interview. When would be a better time to call about that?
Briefly ask for an interview
I've been studying [profession name]. I’m doing a series of informational interviews to understand what it might be like to work as a [job name], and also trends that might be happening in the [industry name]. I was wondering if you might be able to spare 20 minutes for a short information interview with me? Would you allow me to buy you coffee [at café name / somewhere near your work]? Or I could come to your office. Whichever you prefer.
If they agree, make a time
That’s fantastic. Thankyou. I'm free [eg. all day Tuesdays and Fridays, and mornings on Mondays].
If they say no
Ok. I appreciate your time. Can you suggest someone else who might be able to help me out?
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