An informational interview is a great opportunity to better understand a specific industry or position. Most individuals are willing to sit down for a meeting to give advice to future professionals. Sometimes they may even allow you to shadowing them for a day.
It’s important to be prepared before the interview. Do some background research on the industry and the individual. Show your appreciate for his/her time by coming up with thoughtful questions to ask. This will also help prevent awkward silences during the meeting. The day of the information interview, dress at a minimum business casual and arrive a few minutes early. Be respect of the individual’s times. When you first sit down, start off with simple, get-to-know-you questions before jumping into more in-depth questions.
Here is a list of suggested questions as you brainstorm your own.
- What attracted you to this career path?
- What previous professional experiences have helped you the most in this role?
- What’s something that would surprise most people about your day-to-day?
- What’s one thing you wish somebody had told you before entering this profession?
- What is the culture like within your company and within the industry?
- What are the biggest rewards of this profession? What are the biggest challenges?
- If you could do it all over again, would you choose the same path for yourself? Why? What would you change?
- What personality traits make people successful in this industry?
- What major qualifications/skill set do you need to enter this profession?
- Could you suggest ways for students to gain the necessary experience needed to be successful while in school?
- What is the best way to enter this industry?
- How does the future look in your field?
- Where do you see your career going from here?
At the end of the interview, ask if the individual has anyone else they would recommend speaking with in the industry. This is a good way to build your network as well as create a more holistic picture of working in the industry.
After the interview, be sure to follow up with a thank you note. We have Georgia-branded cards if you want to send a handwritten thank you (which is recommended).