Informational interviews are intentional conversations to gather information, build rapport with a professional in your career field of interest, make additional networking connections, and get career advice.
During an informational interview - usually around 30 minutes long - you interview your contact for information, such as what they like about the work, what they do on a daily basis, and much more. You are not asking for a job or interviewing for a specific opportunity. Only share your resume if your contact requests it or if they agree to give you feedback on its construction.
Reach out to your networking contacts through PirateConnect, LinkedIn, or email requesting to speak in person or in a phone/video chat. See our Networking Scripts handout for ideas on how to initiate this first contact.
Finish up by sending a thank-you letter to your contact. You never know when this contact might have a chance to suggest your name for a job vacancy. Keep up positive ties! Make sure to contact any additional people your original interviewee suggested to you.
Sample questions for an informational interview
- How did you get into this area of work?
- What is your background and training?
- How much of your background relates to your present job?
- What are your main duties and responsibilities?
- What do you do on a typical day?
- What do you like most about your job? Least?
- What characteristics and skills are needed to effectively do your job?
- What kind of pressures and problems do you face in this career?
- What is a typical entry-level position?
- What qualifications are needed for entry into the field?
- Are there alternative methods to gain entrance into the field?
- What related fields are available for people with backgrounds such as yours?
- What is the future of the field in terms of new and expanding opportunities?
- With what professional organizations do you suggest I get involved?
- If you were hiring a new entry-level person, what would that candidate be like?
- What would you do if you were searching for a job in this field?
- What kinds of advancement possibilities are available with your position?
- What are salary ranges for entry level and experienced people?
- Do you know of other contacts that might be helpful to me?