Informational Interview Tips

Take the initiative to set up informational interviews with people in your network (alumni, people referred to you by your career center or your personal network, or other people you have identified in companies or industries you are eager to learn about). They should last about 30 minutes and be held in a place convenient to the interviewee.

During the informational interview, ask about the person’s daily responsibilities, career path, company, and outlook on the industry. You might also ask for suggestions about how to find a position within the industry, what kind of preparation is needed for a successful career in the company, and whether the interviewee can recommend any other people to meet. However, keep in mind that most people do not want to be solicited for a job during an informational interview.

Need some help in coming up with good questions for your informational interviews? Here are several to get you started:

  • What are the backgrounds of most of the people in the company and the industry?
  • What are some of the exciting areas to be working in across the company/industry?
  • What is the culture of the organization like?
  • What do you like about your job?
  • What don’t you like?
  • Which companies do you think are the most exciting places to be working in this industry?
  • What opportunities are there for people with a background in (your major) in this industry?
  • What types of qualities or experience do recruiters look for in this industry?
  • What kind of people do well here?
  • Is there a lot of turnover? Why or why not?
  • How much autonomy and responsibility do people get?
  • Is this a good place for women and minorities?
  • Do you know anyone else with whom I can speak to find out more about (the company or the industry)?

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