Before the Informational Interview
What Do I Bring With Me to the Informational Interview?
Bring a list of your questions (be sure to do in-depth research of the company before writing them), paper, a pen, your smile and a positive attitude! Learn the company dress code prior to your visit and dress appropriately. Be on time! Have your resume on hand in case you decide to review it with them. At the close, ask the interviewee if s/he knows of an individual you could talk to further about this profession or something different.
Take notes during your time with the professional. Here are some questions you might ask:
- What is your typical workday like?
- What do you like most (and least) about your job?
- What skills/abilities are most important to succeed in this job?
- What is your educational background?
- How did you get started in this field?
- What courses were most helpful to you and which would you recommend?
- What is the best way to get started in this field?
- I am familiar with the basics of the profession – could you give me an overview of your responsibilities?
- What experiences have helped you to grow in the field?
- When you look at future trends in the job market, do you see this profession expanding?
- Which professional journals and associations should I be aware of in order to learn more about this field and connect with people in the field?
- Is there a typical career path for individuals in this field?
- Do you have any recommendations on how I could gain more practical experience in this field either through an internship, volunteer work, a research project, etc.?
- Would you mind taking a look at my resume and offering some feedback on the skills which I have emphasized in relation to this career field?
- What kinds of decisions do you make?
- What current issues and trends in the field should I know about/be aware of?
- What kinds of accomplishments tend to be valued and rewarded in this field?
- How do most people get into this field? What are common entry-level jobs?
- What steps would you recommend I take to prepare to enter this field?
- How relevant to your work is your undergraduate major?
- What kind of education, training, or background does your job require?
- What skills, abilities, and personal attributes are essential to success in your job/this field?
- What is the profile of the person most recently hired at my level?
- What are the most effective strategies for seeking a position in this field?
- If you could do it all over again, would you choose the same path for yourself? If not, what would you change?
- I’ve read that the entry-level salary range for this field is usually in the range of ______? Does this fit with what you’ve seen? (Don’t ask about the person’s actual salary.)
- What advice would you give someone who is considering this type of job (or field)?
- Can you suggest anyone else I could contact for additional information?
- Do you have any additional advice to help me prepare?