Informational interviewing: Tips for an informational
meeting or informal discussion with a potential employer
The purpose of an informational interview is to gather
information, learn the basics about a career field or company, and
to make networking connections. Unlike a job interview, and
informational interview you take responsibility for the progress of
the interview. You can use these tips when you talk with
employers at any of our career fairs and events.
Good questions to ask include:
- What are you major duties and
- How does your position fit into the
structure of the organization?
- With what people in the organization
(superiors, subordinates, peers) do you have the
- Describe a typical day.
- What aspects of your job do you find most
- What aspects do you enjoy least?
- What changes do you see occurring in this
- Will the type and number of jobs change
significantly over the next 10 years?
- What, if any, will be the effect of changing
technology on the field?
- What are the typical entry-level jobs in
- What were the positions you had that led to
- How long does it usually take to move from
one step to the next in this field?
- Are there any specifically defined
prerequisites for advancement – for example,
years in service, examinations, advanced
degrees, board interviews, etc.?
- What are the best jobs in this field for
- Are there other areas of this field to which
people in it may be transferred? What are they?
- How would you describe your work
- How much flexibility are you permitted in
your job (hours, vacation, dress code)?
- How much autonomy do you have on the job?
- What portion of your job involves
interacting with others, including co-workers
- Is there travel involved in your job?
- If so, how much and what type?
- What are your biggest challenges or problems
you must deal with? Industry
- What are the challenges facing this industry
- Who do you consider to be the leaders in
- How do you view the current state of the
- What are the academic and experience
prerequisites for entry-level jobs in this
- Is this degree I’m working on/I have
- Are there any specific courses I might take
that would be particularly useful?
- Are there any extracurricular or other
experiences (work, volunteering, internships,
etc.) that would enhance my chances of
- What types of training do companies give
persons entering the field?
- What advice would you give to someone
planning to enter this field?
- What is the size of you organization?
- What geographic locations do you have
- What is the organizational structure?
- How does the work of your
group/division/office fit into the work of the
- What is the average length of time employees
stay with the organization?
- What type of formal on the job training is
- What is the on-boarding process for a new
- How are performance reviews conducted and
- What sets of your organization apart to
similar ones in the industry?
Job requirements and experience
- What skills or talents are most essential
for effective job performance and to succeed in
- What college courses have been the most
helpful to you in your position?
- Is there special certification, licensing,
or an advanced degree required for your job?
- What is the most rewarding part of your job?
- How did you get to this point in your
Job hunting strategies
- How do most people enter this field?
- What type of position in this field might I
reasonable target given my background?
- If you were in charge of hiring someone to
assist you, what criteria would you use to make
your selection and why?
- Are there any professional groups in the
field that you recommend I join?
- What was the best advice you received when
you started in this field?
- What specific aspects of my background
should I highlight or sell the most when
applying for positions?
- What organizations (based on your list of
target companies) would you recommend I pursue?
- What is the current demand for employees at
entry level in this field?
- What are the salary ranges at various levels
in the field?
- How many hours a week does someone typically
work in this field?
- Where might I find job descriptions and
other specifications for some of the positions
in this field?
- Are the content and format of my resume
appropriate for someone seeking a job in this
- Do you have any suggestions on my job search
- Are there any questions I should have asked
but did not?
- Do you mind if I stay in touch with you
regarding my career search?
- Is there anyone else in the field with whom
you would suggest I speak? (HINT: This will lead
you to other networking contacts and you’ll keep
building your network!)
Always thank the individual for their time and follow-up with
a thank you note or email!
Adapted from Wake Forest
University’s Office of Personal and Career Development