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Informational Interviewing Tips

Organizational Effectiveness

An effective way to learn more about a career that you are interested in is to interview people who are already in the field. While the interview is similar to a hiring interview, the purpose is to gather information about a career field or path and not to get a specific job.

  • Know what you want from the interaction and plan your questions ahead of time. Practice until you feel that you will be as comfortable as possible when you are in the interview.
  • Schedule a 10 to 20 minute appointment and stick to the time frame.
  • Personalize your request instead of mass mailing.
  • Dress for a “real” interview.
  • Don’t sneak in a job interview.
  • Send a thank-you note after the interview, immediately via email and then through the mail by that evening.

Sample Questions

To jumpstart your thought processes

  • How did you get in this field?
  • Is there anyone I can talk with who got into the field a different way?
  • What do you like best about it?
  • What do you like least about it?
  • How do I get into this career, and how much of a demand is there for people who can do this work?
  • Does it seem easy to find a job in this career, or difficult?
  • Who else would you recommend or suggest I go talk to, to learn more about this career?

More information about Informational Interviewing is available in Richard N. Bolles's book What Color Is Your Parachute?.