Image of Evan greeting a student while sitting at the Office of Career Services table located in the Pryz lobby.

You’ll Dread It, but Won’t Regret It: The Informational Interview

 

This past semester I’ve had the opportunity to conduct informational interviews with a handful of professionals in the performing arts management world. I’ve been interning at Washington Performing Arts (WPA) since August, an organization that presents concerts at venues all across the city. WPA also reaches out to thousands of children with their in-school programs, and I had the good fortune to intern in their Education and Community Engagement department.

If you snag a good internship like the one at WPA, they’ll let you interview members of different departments, as well as people they have contact with outside the organization. To be honest, I initially hated the idea of conducting my own interviews. What could I possibly talk to these people about? My supervisor suggested that I interview at least a few people, however, so I grudgingly accepted.

In preparation for each interview, I wrote up two pages of questions. In retrospect, those interviews probably would have gone fine even if I had just given myself a few notes, because we would usually spend a fair amount of time talking about each of my questions, and they would often lead to some other related topic. If I had gone in without anything, though…that would have been completely embarrassing. People would sometimes have things they already knew they want to talk about, but one time in particular I really had to read the questions right off the sheet to keep the conversation going.

Although I had initially been hesitant about the idea of conducting an interview with someone much older and experienced than myself, I don’t regret a single one of them. I actually have a follow-up interview (that I didn’t even ask for!) scheduled for later this month with one of the conductors of the National Symphony Orchestra, and he’s asking me to bring him some music ideas. Who knows where it will lead, but I never would have even gotten to know any of these people if I hadn’t plunged into the informational interview process.

Evan Brende
Catholic U Class of 2020
Music Composition Major
Career Peer Advisor

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