Informational interviews are one of the best sources to gather information on a specific career. These interviews are conducted in person, by telephone or e-mail. The purpose of an informational interview is to obtain information, NOT to get a job.
Through an informational interview, you can learn firsthand what it is like to perform a particular type of work in a particular organization; gather information about what types of job opportunities and career paths exist in a given field of interest; and network with key people in an organization. You can also gain self-confidence and learn about “problem areas” where you can provide solutions with your skills and abilities in the future.
Preparing for the Interview
Learn how to request, prepare for, and make the most of an informational interview.
- Identify the targeted occupation or industry by assessing your interests, abilities, values, and skills. The Career and Professional Development Office can aid in personal assessments.
- Create a list of people you know, such as friends, relatives, fellow students, present or former co-workers, supervisors, faculty, college advisors, and neighbors, who might know someone in the career field in which you are interested. Ask the mutual acquaintance if you can use his or her name when contacting the interviewee.
- Contact the person to set up the interview by telephone; by letter, followed by a telephone call; or by e-mail. Suggest a 20-30-minute interview.
- Try to arrange an in-person interview. Have your questions ready when calling, as your only option may be the telephone informational interview right then and there.
Prepare a list of questions that you would like to have answered. Review the list of "200 Informational Interview Sample Questions.” Choose 10 questions applicable to the person with whom you are interviewing. Do not ask questions that are routine and readily available