What it is
- An informational interview is an opportunity to gather information and get advice from an experienced person in a career or industry that interests you
- You can learn valuable, candid, and up-to-date career information and learn about the culture of a company
- It helps you decide whether a particular career is right for you
- In the process, you will also develop a network of contacts
- It is not a job interview
Arranging an Informational Interview
- Identify people you'd like to meet who work in an interesting career field
- Research the career field, and prepare a list of questions
- Call or send a professional email to prospective mentors to set up an appointment
- Explain why you are contacting them and where you found their name
- Say that you are interested in the field and that you would like to schedule 20-30 minutes to get advice and information about their career field
- Let them know that you are flexible and will work around their schedule
- Prepare a statement similar to: “Hello, my name is Jane Doe. I'm a sophomore at UNH, and I’m thinking about what I want to do after I graduate. I found your profile on the UNH Alumni Linked-In group, and I’m very interested in the work that you do. I'm hoping we could schedule a 20- or 30-minute informational interview so I could gather information about your career field and how you figured it out. Please let me know if you might be available to meet with me or speak with me over the phone. Thank you very much for your time.”
- Confirm the date, time, and location of the meeting. If you must cancel, give the contact as much advance notice as you can
- Arrive on-time, and dress and act professionally
- Send a thank you note within 24 hours of the interview
Sample Questions for an Informational Interview
- What is a typical day like?
- What drew you into this line of work?
- How did you break into this field/industry?
- What has your career path looked like?
- What skills are most important?
- What do you like most about your job?
- What are the challenges?
- What kind of experience would employers in this field look for in a job applicant?
- Can you describe a time where you failed at something, and what you learned from it?
- What is the market like? What areas do you feel promise the most growth?
- What training or degrees are necessary?
- What are the opportunities for advancement within the field?
- What has made you successful in working with people different from yourself?
- What is the best advice you received regarding your career?
- To what professional organizations do you belong?
- Who else would you suggest I speak with to learn more about this field? May I use your name when I contact them?
- Would you be willing to look over my resume and suggest the kinds of jobs for which I might be a competitive candidate?
- What haven’t I asked you that I should know?