Sample Informational Interview Questions

  • How did you come to pick this occupation?
  • How did you get your start in this field?
  • What is your typical day like?
  • Is this position fairly typical, or is it different in any way based on the size of the company or in this particular industry?
  • How has your occupation changed since you began? How will these changes affect someone like me who will be entering the field in the near future?
  • What part of your job would you like to change?
  • Where do you see the future of this occupation?
  • What are other commonly-used titles for the position?
  • In what ways does this occupation satisfy any personal interests you might have?
  • If you were to develop a to-do list, what current skills would you like to upgrade and what new skills would you like to acquire?
  • Do you belong to any professional organizations?
  • What industry or professional publications do you recommend I follow?
  • What might make the industry function better?
  • What are the important "key words" or "buzz words" to include in a resume or cover letter when job hunting in the field?
  • Would you mind doing a quick critique of my resume? (This question should be considered carefully before asking. You may want to wait until after the meeting and follow up with this as a request later. In some cases, the interviewee may ask to see your resume, so bring a copy.)
  • Where do I need to improve myself to become a better candidate?
  • How would you recommend I go about an effective search for a full-time position or internship for summer?
  • How have your career goals changed through your career? What would you like to approach next?
  • Can you think of anyone else I should talk to? Would you mind if I used your name when I
  • contact him/her?
Suggested preparation:
Do your research before meeting with the interviewee. You should have at least basic knowledge of the person’s employer and the sector and industry.
For optimal success in the discussion, convey your expectations ahead of time. This will allow the interviewee to prepare.
Send a thank you note/email as soon after the meeting as possible.