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One of the most effective methods of obtaining more detailed information about a particular career is to conduct an informational interview with someone who holds a position that interests you. An informational interview is a meeting with an established professional to learn more about their position, industry and career path. An informational interview:
- Allows you to determine whether the career, industry or company matches your skills, interests and values
- Confirms information you have read and provides access to the most up-to-date career information
- Expands your professional network
- Provides you with tips and information about the career field that may be helpful while applying and interviewing for positions
- Offers an opportunity to see an organization from the inside
- Helps you identify professional strengths and areas for growth/improvement to be successful in your career
Do not take the chance of embarrassing yourself or upsetting a potential employer by asking for a job or using the informational interview to request an employment interview. The purpose of the informational interview is to research and inform your career decisions.
Steps to Complete an Informational Interview
Step 1: Identify the Occupation or Industry of Interest
Step 2: Identify People to Interview
Step 3: Arrange the Interview
Step 4: Prepare for the Interview
Research the field, organization and the person you are interviewing prior to the interview. Decide what information you would like to obtain about the occupation or industry, and prepare a list of questions. Do not be afraid to ask follow-up questions as they arise.
Sample Informational Interview Questions
The following are sample questions for an informational interview. Remember to customize your questions to best meet your needs. Add or modify questions as needed.
- On a typical day in this position, what do you do?
- What training, education, personal qualities, abilities and special requirements are needed for this type of work?
- What part of this job do you find most satisfying? Most challenging?
- What opportunities for advancement are there in this field?
- What entry-level jobs are best for learning as much as possible?
- What is the salary range for various levels in this field?
- What is the demand for people in this occupation?
- What special advice would you give a person entering this field?
- What types of training do companies offer individuals entering this field?
- If you could do things all over again, would you choose the same path for yourself? Why? What would you change?
- What is your level of freedom to solve problems and take action on the job?
- Tell me about your working conditions.
- How has your work changed recently due to technology, marketplace or competition? How will the field change in the future?
- How did you find your job?
- Can you suggest anyone else I can talk with about this field?
Step 5: Conduct the Interview
Step 6: Follow-up
UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN OSHKOSH
Career & Professional Development
Student Success Center, Suite 125
750 Elmwood Ave.
Oshkosh, WI 54901
- M–Th: 7:45 a.m.–5 p.m.
- F: 7:45 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Fond du Lac and Fox Cities Campus Solution Centers
- Wednesdays: 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
- Services only offered when classes are in session