Career and Personal Development

Informational Interviewing

An informational interview is where you reach out to someone in a field of interest and set up a time to ask them questions. It is one of the best ways to learn about careers and build your network. An informational interview can be conducted in person, video conference, or over the phone and can teach you about:


  • Education required for a career

  • How major/minor selection relates to the career/industry

  • Job duties and responsibilities

  • How to make a career change


It is important to remember the purpose of the conversation is to get advice and guidance and is not to ask for a job. The end result may be an opportunity to interview for a position, but that should never be the assumption going into the informational interview. Below is a brief guideline you can follow before, during, and after the interview. You can also visit the Career and Personal Development Office for additional assistance.


Before the Interview:

  • Research career fields you are interested in learning more about

  • Identify individuals (friends, family, professors, alumni) to interview

  • Professionally contact the individual(s) you have selected through a carefully crafted email or message in LinkedIn

  • Prepare questions for the interview (see below for sample questions)


During the Interview:

  • Bring prepared questions to ask the individual

  • If in person, arrive a few minutes early

  • Take notes

  • Be prepared to direct the conversation

  • Ask if it is OK to contact the person again in the future

  • Do not expect a job offer, this is not a job interview


After the Interview:

  • Within 24-48 hours, send a thank you note to express appreciation for the time and information given during the interview. This may be an email or handwritten note depending on the formality of the interview

  • Keep in touch


    Sample Questions:

  • What is your job title?

  • What are your responsibilities?

  • What does your typical work day look like?

  • What does your typical work week look like?

  • What did you major in?

  • What is your education?

  • How relevant is your work to your undergraduate or graduate subject?

  • What particular skills or talents are most essential to your job?

  • What courses have proven to be the most valuable to you in your work?

  • How did you find this position?

  • Why did you decide to work for this company?

  • What sorts of changes are occurring in your occupation?

  • How does a person progress in your field? What is a typical career path in this field or organization?

  • What is the best way to enter this occupation?

  • If your job progresses as you like, what would be the next step in your career?