Sample Questions for Informational Interviews

Conducting informational interviews is a great way to make connections and learn more about a career field that interests you. Make the most of the experience by planning out your questions in advance. Remember: Do not ask directly for a job interview or a job.

Questions about your interviewee's career field

  • What skills or personal characteristics do you feel contribute most to success in this industry?
  • What are the positive/negative aspects of working in this field?
  • What are typical entry level jobs? Is there a definite career path in this field? If so, can you describe it?
  • What are the most pertinent issues in this field?
  • What types of internship opportunities exist in this field?
  • What are typical entry-level jobs in this field?
  • How did you get into this field?
  • What are the trends in this field? 

Questions about your interviewee's organization

  • Why did you decide to work for this organization?
  • What do you like most about this organization?
  • What are the toughest challenges your organization faces?
  • How would you describe the culture and climate at your organization (casual, busy, etc.)?
  • How does your job fit into the organization or department?

Questions about your interviewee's job and career path

  • What are the duties/functions/responsibilities of your job?
  • How do you spend a typical day/week?
  • What do you find most/least satisfying about your job?
  • In what ways is your occupation changing?
  • What kinds of problems do you deal with? What kinds of decisions do you make?
  • How does your time use vary? Are there busy and slow times or is the work activity constant?
  • What projects have you worked on that have been particularly interesting?
  • What particular skills or talents are most essential to be effective in your job? How did you learn these skills?
  • How much flexibility do you have in determining how you perform your job?
  • In what way did this type of work interest you and how did you get started?
  • What jobs and experiences have led you to your present position?
  • What were the keys to your career advancement?

Questions about preparing for this career

  • How does your work relate to any experiences or studies you had in college?
  • What courses do you wish you had taken that would have prepared you?
  • If you were a college student again, what would you do differently to prepare you for this job?
  • What publications or professional journals do you recommend?
  • What LinkedIn groups should I join to stay up to date on what people are saying in the field? 

Wrap-up questions

  • Is there anyone else you can suggest I contact for additional information?
  • May I stay connected with you via LinkedIn?