Informational interviews make a great impression face-to-face with someone you might wish to approach in the future about a specific job — demonstrate initiative, good manners, curiosity and passion. These conversations allow you to learn the language and issues of industries of interest, open doors — get referrals to other people to interview and learn from, and increase exponentially your knowledge of job titles and organizations.
Informational Interview Tips
- What career path did YOU follow to your present position? What are your career goals?
- If you were a college student again, what would you do differently to prepare for this job?
- What are the duties/functions/responsibilities of your current role? What is a typical day like?
- Why does this type of work interest you? How did you get started?
- What part of this job do you find most satisfying? Most challenging?
- What do you like and not like about working in this industry?
- What can you tell me about your organization’s corporate culture?
- How is this company different from its competitors?
- Why do customers choose this company?
- Which organizations outside your own do you consider to be especially well run?
- Where else would you recommend I investigate?
- What do you like about working for this company?
- Is there anything you dislike?
- What does this company look for when they are choosing who to hire?
- When they are choosing who to promote?
- What are the typical entry-level job titles and functions in this industry?
- What is a typical career path in this industry? What are some paths that people have followed that are completely atypical?
- What skills, licenses, certifications and experiences are especially valuable in your industry?
- What professional organizations do people in this industry commonly join?
- What majors did people in your industry pursue?
- In what ways is your industry changing?
- From everything you’ve observed, what problems can you cite regarding working in this career?
- What is the most important thing that someone interested in this industry should know?
- What kinds of things would you recommend I do now to improve my chances of success in your industry?
- What professional journals and publications should I be reading to learn about this career?
- What should I consider doing that I haven’t even thought of?
- What final advice do you have to offer?