Informational Interviews

April 12, 2011

Everyone should do informational interviews at least once or twice a year with a total stranger.  I had a great informational interview last Friday with a developer at Tigo Energy.  I found him on linkedin while recruiting python developers.  He was not interested in leaving Tigo, but we discovered that we are sort of cross-commuting.  He lives in Castro Valley and works in Los Gatos, and I live in Los Gatos and work in Oakland!  His commute is not as ridiculous as mine, but then again, I take the train.  He agreed to meet me for coffee at Peet’s in Los Gatos.  He was happy to tell me about developing software at Tigo, and he was interested to learn a bit about the software we write for energy efficiency programs, or at least he listened politely and asked intelligent questions.  I’m a total solar groupie.  I’d go back to volunteering for SolarTech, as I did the first year that it was starting up, except the whole point of taking a job in cleantech is to help fight climate change during my daytime working hours, not my outside of work hours.

It does not always work out – I tried to get an II with a senior developer at NetFlix once, thinking I might want to work there (Los Gatos!) someday but having some questions, but he was really not interested.  I could have followed up with the hiring manager he pointed me to, and tried to get the II with him instead.  Hiring managers are sometimes intrigued/relieved to talk to someone who is not begging for a job.  Gives them the option to decide to recruit you later if they want to.  But I did not bother.

Reading about Tigo reminded me of PPAs, which I think make so much sense, and that led me to SunEdison.  I may try to get an informational interview at SunEdison next.  That will be easy from the “no really, I’m looking for information, not a job” point of view because their CA office (which does hire developers) is in San Francisco.  Like I’m going to quit my job in Oakland so I can work in San Francisco instead – ha!  I don’t love solar that much.

But I do love informational interviews, and using your linkedin network to find them is a fun and more in depth method of networking than an online exchange.


One Response to “Informational Interviews”

  1. […] loves to rave about Planet Labs. Joshua said yes, obviously, and pointed out that he’d read this 2011 post about informational interviews that I’d completely forgotten about […]