An informational interview* is a meeting you can initiate with a career professional in a field that interests you to seek career advice or industry information. As a college student, you may want to request an an informational interview to help you choose a career path or to learn how to be successful in your chosen career field.
During the informational interview, you will be asking the majority of the questions. Therefore, you must be prepared with a list of questions. Select questions carefully to get to get the most out of the informational interview experience.
When asking questions during the interview, start with the ones that you most want to have answered. Asking your most important questions first will ensure that you leave with the information you are seeking if you run out of time before you get to the last questions on your list or the professional might be called away early due to a work-related emergency.
Below is a list of possible questions to ask during an informational interview. In addition to selecting some questions from this list, create your own questions in order to be able to learn what you most want to know. The specific questions you ask will also depend on your career field of interest, your level of career decidedness, and the position of the professional you are interviewing.
- How did you decide on your career path?
- What work and educational experiences lead you to your current position?
- What is the required or recommended educational level for the career field?
- Are there any required or helpful certifications for this career field?
- How well did your college education prepare you for your career field?
- Do your primary activities change at different times in the year? If so, how?
- What types of technology do you use at work?
- Can you describe a typical day for you at work?
- Please describe your work environment.
- What are your job responsibilities?
- What are the most important skills needed to be successful in your career field?
- What are the hours you typically work? How often do you work on the weekends? How often do you have to stay late at work?
- Do you have any flexibility with the hours that you work?
- Is there a work-at-home option for your job?
- What are the rewards of this job? What satisfies you the most at work?
- Please describe the best day you ever had at work.
- What do you consider to be the most difficult aspect of your job?
- What kinds of frustrations do you experience at work?
- What do you find most satisfying about your career?
- What is the most stressful part of your job?
- What are some other careers that are related to yours?
- What other types of professionals do you interact with at work?
- What advice do you have for students interested in entering this career field?
*An informational interview is sometimes referred to as an information interview or an occupation information Interview.