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Informational Interviews

An informational interview is a chance to interview an employer about their job, company, and industry. You can obtain valuable information about a type of career through an informational interview. Below are some guidelines for conducting an informational interview.

Before

  • Identify someone working in the profession in which you are interested. Check with family, friends, professors, or Alumni Affairs for contacts. Use your network!
  • Contact the person and indicate that you are a student interested in learning about his/her career.
  • Ask if you can interview him/her for information to learn more about his/her career field. Indicate that you will only take 15 to 30 minutes.
  • If you are invited to her/his workplace, accept graciously; you will learn more about the work environment.
  • For some very busy professionals a telephone or email interview may be all the time she/he can give you. Accept this alternative graciously as well.

The following questions are suggested to get you started. Feel free to ask other questions that will help you get the information you need.

Background and Training

  • What kind of education and/or training prepared you for your current position?
  • What other jobs have you held? How were they related?
  • What skills are the most important for this field? How did you acquire them?
  • What has been the most helpful to you in reaching your present position?
  • What other occupations did you consider before you chose this one? Why did you choose this occupation rather than one of the alternatives?

Present Position

  • What types of activities do you complete during an “average” day or week? What percentage of your time is spent on each?
  • What types of interaction do you have with other people?
  • What are your responsibilities?
  • What do you like most and least about your position and about the industry?
  • What professional associations are related to your industry?

Other Questions

  • What would you do differently if you were just starting college?
  • What advice would you give someone like me who is considering the field?
  • What kinds of opportunities do you think this field offers new professionals?
  • What do you think is the best education, training, or experience to enter this field?

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