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 Informational Interview Questions 

 

SPOTLIGHT

What is an informational interview?

  • Just as the word implies, informational interviewing is interviewing designed to produce information related to career exploration and guidance. Usually lasting 20-30 minutes, the interview is a brief meeting between a person who wants to investigate a career and a person who is working in that career. Choose or refine a career path; understand what training/education is needed; learn how to succeed in a specific field; expand your social/professional network—all of these items are reasons for conducting an informational interview.

Why do an information interview? 

  • Expand your professional network
  • Sharpen your interviewing skills
  • Explore your careers
  • Clarify your careers goals

Where should you begin your search? 

  • Friends
  • Family
  • Professors
  • Fellow students
  • Present or former co-workers
  • Supervisors
  • Neighbors

How to prepare for an information interview? 

  • Research the organization
  • Create a resume—can show professionalism
  • Develop questions (See Sample Questions below)

How should you follow up after an interview? 

  • Thank-you Letters

Sample Questions 

  • What are the various jobs available in this field?
  • What kind of tasks do you perform on a typical day or in a typical week?
  • What types of tasks do you spend most of your time doing?
  • How is your daily/weekly time slot between working with people, data and things?
  • What do you like best about this job?
  • What is the most exciting part of this job?
  • What are some of the more difficult or frustrating parts of this job?
  • How is the economy affecting this industry?
  • Are there any other written materials, professional articles, etc that you suggest I read?
  • What personal characteristics does one need to be successful in this career?
  • Do you spend more time working independently or as part of a team?
  • What types of decisions do you typically need to make?
  • What types of advancement opportunities are available for an entry level worker in this career?
  • What are some of the possible career paths in this field?
  • How do you see this career changing?
  • What is the typical entry-level salary range for someone entering the field?
  • What is the current employment outlook/demand for this occupation?
  • Is the demand for this job higher in certain geographical areas?
  • Can you describe the organizational structure at your company/organization?
  • Do you know of other people whom I might talk to who have similar jobs?
  • How many hours do you typically work each day/week?
  • Is your schedule flexible or do you have set hours?
  • Are your hours typical for most jobs in this field, or do some jobs have different hours?
  • What's the dress code here? Is it conservative or casual? Does the company have dress-down of casual days?
  • What educational background did you obtain to prepare for this career?
  • Is a certain major or degree required for this job?
  • How did you find your job?
  • What classes or experiences do you think are most helpful in preparing for this career?
  • How important are internships?
  • What advice would you give a person entering this field?
  • When you/your organization hire new employees, what methods do you most often use to find candidates (newspapers, job fairs, internet, referrals, etc)
  • What characteristics or experiences make one candidate stand apart from the rest?
  • What do you wish you had known before you entered this field?
  • How can I assess whether or not I have the skills needed for a position such as yours?
  • How important are grades/GPA for obtaining a job in this field?
  • What courses should I be taking? What courses have proved to be the most valuable to you in your work?
  • What courses do you wish you had taken that would have prepared you?
  • What is the best way to obtain a position that will get me started in this occupation?
  • What obstacles do you see getting in the way of the company's profitability or growth?
  • Why did you decide to work for this company?

  

  


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