Informational Interviews

Holding an informational interview is one of the best ways to explore career options and network with professionals. These meetings, whether in person or virtual, can provide invaluable insight into the real work of active professionals and can give you perspective on the skill sets and pathways to those careers. If you need assistance in identifying professionals to interview, contact Career Services.

Sample Questions

  • How did you enter this field?
  • What made you pursue this type of career? How did you become interested in the field?
  • What do you do on a typical day?
  • What do you like best about your job?
  • What do you like least about your job?
  • What were some of the best career decisions you made? Biggest mistakes?
  • What is the most satisfying aspect of your job? Most frustrating?
  • How would you describe the work environment?
  • What are challenges face your field now and in the future?
  • What opportunities face your field now and in the future?
  • What are the entry-level opportunities for this field?
  • What are the best ways to obtain work in the field?
  • What preparation, education, training, credentials, or certification is necessary to work in your field?
  • How frequently do you work independently? With others?
  • How would you describe the culture of your organization?
  • What are the best journals, websites, newsgroups and resources for learning more about this career?
  • Are there opportunities for professional development in your field?
  • What is unique about your organization?
  • What are some ways to develop a professional network?
  • How does your field differ from others?
  • Can you provide feedback on my resume?
  • Are you willing to provide feedback on my research project?
  • Can you recommend someone else who I can talk to in this field?
  • What kind of positions did you hold prior to your current job?

Resources

May, Susan Basalla and Risa Nystrom McDonnell. “Coffee in 2002, a Job Offer in 2004.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. 20 January 2005.

Wagner, Robin. “Informational Interviewing 101.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. 13 April 2001.