Questions to Ask in an Informational Interview
Informational interviews can be a fantastic way to gain knowledge about a particular company or a given profession. The key to a good informational interview is a robust conversation. The quality of the conversation, thus the questions you pose, will allow you to gain valuable insight into a new career path, position, or perhaps even aide in finding an advocate.
The following are seven basic questions to help you get your informational interview started. Take each as a guideline, get creative, and form unique questions to get the most out of your next informational interview.
What was your career path to get to your current position, and which traits do you think made you successful? These openings will be a great ice breaker; it will entice conversation about the individual and will help them get more comfortable early on in the interview.
How do most people get started in this field? This question will give you a broader idea of how the particular industry, sector, or position works and will give a general sense of the field, rather than the experience of one individual.
Describe the pros and cons of working in this field. Short and sweet, but sure to pack a punch. Don’t be afraid to ask the questions that you want the answers to, providing they are professional and appropriate.
What does a stellar candidate for XYZ position or in XYZ field possess? Always a question with varied answers, but valuable none the less. Every professional will have their differences, but there should be similarities in the traits, skills, and experiences interviewees describe.
What could I do to better my chances for breaking into your field? While this particular question is not necessarily a staple in an informational interview, use this question to your advantage and take the answer seriously; it could alter your professional life dramatically.
What kinds of associations should I join? Which professional publications should I read and what networking events should I attend? Fairly self-explanatory, these questions will offer some basics to build a foundation.
Would you mind taking a look at my resume? Always welcome feedback on your document.