TIARA stands for Trends, Insights, Advice, Resources and Assignments. TIARA is an informational interview framework coined by Steve Dalton, author of The 2-Hour Job Search. This structure will help you in get useful information while creating a rapport with your interviewee. The rationale behind TIARA is that people like to talk about themselves. By treating your interviewee as an expert, they will feel comfortable talking to you. Over the course of the informational interview, your questions will shift in tone and depth so you frame your contact/interviewee more personally as a mentor or coach, maximizing the chance that you’ll turn them into an advocate.
- What trends are impacting your business right now?
- How these trends impact the work you do?
- How do you think your business or field will change most dramatically in the next several years?
- What surprises you most about your job/your employer?
- What’s the best lesson you’ve learned on the job?
- What’s been your most valuable experience at your employer so far, and why?
- If you had to attribute your success at your employer to one skill or trait, what would it be? Follow-up: Is that trait shared by many across the firm, or is it unique and you’ve adapted it to your advantage?
- What keeps you up at night?
- What resources should I be sure to look into next?
- What next steps would you recommend for someone in my situation?
- What can I be doing right now to prepare myself for a career in this field?
- If I got hired, what should I be sure to do within the first 30 days to ensure I get off to the best start possible?
- What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you were my age or in my position?
- If you were me, what would you be doing right now to maximize your chance of breaking into this industry/sector/field?
- What project(s) have you done that you felt added the most value?
- Have any projects increased in popularity recently at your organization?
- Have you had interns or contractors in the past? If so, what sort of projects have they done?
Choose 5-10 questions from this list and don’t try to squeeze all of them in the time you’re given. Indeed, you want to get valuable information about your field, sector or industry and you also want to make a connection. Therefore, it’s important to make your interviewee feel comfortable. Listen to verbal and non-verbal cues so the flow of the conversation feels natural instead of feeling like an interrogation.