What is an informational interview?
Informational interviewing is a strategy you can use to network and research certain career fields or opportunities within a particular organization. They provide an opportunity for you to inquire about skill and educational requirements, daily responsibilities, related occupations, typical career paths, and what is most and least satisfying about the work. In addition, informational interview allow you to observe the work environment, obtain information about the general workign conditions and inquire about information not readily available in books or online.
Informational interviewing is not an interview for a job. It can, however, help you focus your job search and assist you in developing important networking relationships within the world of work. Effective use of informational interviewing can help you make important decisions about your career.
For a complete guide on how to set up and informational interview and what to do once you have one arranged check out this handout: Informational Interviews
Sample Questions to Ask
- Tell me about your work. What are the activities and responsibilities connected with your job?
- Please describe a routine day or week. Does this vary by employer?
- When and in what position did you start?
- What do you like about your job? What are the pressures, challenges, and frustrations of your work? Is this typical of the field/company?
- What recommendations do you have for someone who would like to enter this field? Academic preparation? Needed experience?
- Tell me about your work schedule. How many hours do you routinely work? Are you on a set schedule? Does this position require irregular hours, weekends, evenings, holidays?
- How much control do you have over your schedule?
- What entry-level jobs are typical in this career field?
- How competitive is entry into this field? What is the outlook for future openings?
- What salary range can one expect at entry-level? What is the salary for an advanced position?
- What are the advancement possibilities? Is additional education necessary?
- What professional publications are read by people in this field?
- What professional organization do people in this field belong to?
- Who else might you suggest I talk to for additional information? May I use your name to introduce myself?
- May I contact you if I have further questions? If so, how do you wish to be contacted?
Watch this short video clip for more great tips on how to conduct a successful informational interview:
Download Quick Tips (PDF)