Remember to treat the Informational Interview as a professional networking experience: arrive on time, dress appropriately, and respect the person's schedule by keeping the interview to 30 minutes or less. Be sure to follow up on any leads you're given and send a thank you note within a few days of your meeting!
When approaching people, explain that you're interested in learning more about their profession, the training necessary to enter the field, and tips they may wish to share about entering the industry. While they might be able to get you in touch with the right people, they will not be able to offer you a job. Your goal is to build connections and to confirm your career direction.
Make your meetings with employers more productive by planning your questions in advance. Start with your most important questions so you are sure to learn what you need to clarify your career choices. Try some of these questions:
About the Company & Industry
- What does your firm do?
- How does your organization differ from its competitors?
- What are the company's plans for future growth?
- How is your company responding to competition in its industry?
- What recent changes have occurred in this field/industry?
- What challenges face this business/industry?
- Where can I get up-to-date information on salaries, employers, and industry issues?
- What are key professional journals & organizations?
About Career Opportunities
- What advice do you have for those preparing to enter this field?
- What opportunities are available for undergrad internships? Jobs for college grads?
- What educational preparation would you recommend for someone who wants to advance in this field?
- What opportunities are available for experienced workers?
- What are the opportunities for growth & advancement in your firm?
- What skills do job seekers need to be successful at your firm?
- What training programs does your organization offer its employees?
- How much travel and evening work is normally expected?
- How important is a college degree? Which degrees "fit" best?
- What opportunities are there for women/minorities in this business?
- What companies would be interested in hiring someone with my qualifications?
- What would my earning potential be if I entered this field?
- Why do people leave this job/business/industry?
About the Job
- What would surprise someone most about working here?
- How are jobs and internships advertised? What is the application process?
- How would you describe the corporate culture (or work environment) at your firm?
- Describe a typical day at your firm. How might it differ from other organizations?
- What's the biggest mistake a candidate can make during an interview?
- What do you like most and least about your work? What are special challenges?
- Where can someone in an entry-level position expect to be in two years?
- I'd like to learn more about this job/career/industry. With whom should I meet? When I call, may I use your name?
Individuals with disabilities who require accommodations may review Policies & Procedures.