50 Basic Questions For Job Research
What use are these basic questions to me?


Before you meet with any employer for an informational interview, here are some basic questions, that you can use to guide your research. These can usually be answered on your own, before you reach the interview stage.

The purpose of using this list is:

  • to help you do your research to test if this is work that truly interests you
  • to save time at the interview, when you have an opportunity to ask the questions you couldn’t find the answers to in your research
  • to give you a strong background understanding of the industry from which to answer the interview questions.


This list will guide you as to what to look for, when you are in the library, reading through newspaper articles, and researching online, etc.

Employers and workers, whom you interview, will also tend to take you more seriously, when they see you have done your research, and are knowledgeable about their industry, and the work you are asking about.


Suggestions on How to Use The Basic Questions Checklist

  1. Make copies of this Basic Questions Checklist.
  2. Put the name of each job you are researching at the top of each Basic Question List page.
  3. Keep these basic questions before you as you do your Job Research.
  4. Go through the Basic Questions Checklist writing your answers on the sheet or on an attached sheet.
  5. Keep your research sheets in an Information Folder for each job you are researching.


  • For a small donation you can have this 50 Basic Research Questions Checklist Printout which is found in Career Manual 2.
  • All Tests, Inventories and Worksheet Templates are available in an easily printable format in Career Manuals 1 and 2.



JOB BEING RESEARCHED: ________________________

  1. What exactly are the main tasks being done in this job? What else is involved?
  2. Are workers still needed for this type of work, or is it changing, jobs dying out, etc. What new jobs are replacing them?
  3. Is a transition to a new way of doing this job happening?
  4. What are the upcoming trends in this job?
  5. What percentage of workers are being laid off?
  6. What percentage have been hired in new jobs in the past year?
  7. Where are the best schools to train?
  8. GUIDING COMMENT:Employers will tell you what schools they prefer to hire graduates from.
    Career Counseling Centers can supply statistics on which companies tend to hire their graduates.

  9. What career direction do workers who start in these jobs tend to move through?

    GUIDING COMMENT:Find out the labor path – the direction their career paths are likely to take.
    Are you interested in these career paths, or is this going to be a dead end for you?

  10. What parts of the country hire the most workers in this type of job?
  11. Would you likely have to move from your hometown? Is this something you are prepared to do?
  12. What kind of hours are workers in this job doing? Full-time: 7-3, 8-4, 9-5, part-time, shift work, commuting from home, work online etc. How much overtime is involved?
  13. How much travel is involved in this job?
  14. What kind of workplace do workers in this job operate within? Office towers, community centers, malls, their own home, noisy crowded workplaces, isolation, construction sites, outdoors, cold, heat, weather conditions if relevant?
  15. Find out the conditions under which these workers perform, especially if they are unusual.
  16. Do you need a lot of physical strength to do this work? How much heavy lifting is required?
  17. Is special training needed? If so, exactly what is taught, where do you get it, and how long will it take?
  18. Find out the costs: tuition, books, fees, transportation, accommodations, clothing, tools & equipment required.
  19. Do you need an internship, apprenticeship, co-op work experience before you are qualified? How long?
  20. Can you get paid for any of this work while doing it?
  21. GUIDING COMMENT: Some schools have a tradition that their students are not accept pay for any work they do as students. Internships at some schools can take up to a year of unpaid work experience.

  22. Do you need licenses, certificates, degrees, special or unusual training? How do you qualify for this?
  23. Is talent required? Do you have the talent? Or can it be learned?
  24. What skills are required? Social/interpersonal skills, mathematical skills, spatial skills, musical talent, manual dexterity etc.
  25. How dangerous is this work? What is the normal work span for this line of work before retirement?
  26. Is there a high learning expectation over the course of this job, with constant change involved? Would you like that or would it be too stressful? Be realistic, you must know your limits.
  27. Is this a routine job, with very little change involved? Would you like that? Or would it be boring?
  28. What is the salary range for this line of work? Know the starting rate, average and top rates of pay.
  29. How much of a public profile is involved in this work? If you are going to be on show every day, how will you cope with that?
  30. What kind of interaction with the public is expected? High or low public contact?
  31. What do people love about this job? What do they dislike about it?
  32. What are the health risks?
  33. GUIDING COMMENT:From construction workers dealing with onsite risks, to hair stylists who work with many chemicals, you need to know the risks.

  34. Is physical appearance an important element in determining employment in this type of work? If so, how long is the work span likely to be? Will you have an exit strategy available after your useful work life is over? Do you want to be limited by this requirement?
  35. GUIDING COMMENT:Modeling is one career that has had a limited work life based on physical attributes.

  36. What physical requirements define who is accepted into this line of work? Vision, height, weight restrictions, flexibility are common requirements.
  37. What part does honesty, integrity, or a code of ethics play in the performance of this work?
  38. Will you need to be part of an organization, a particular religion, a certain political persuasion, to be considered for this job?
  39. GUIDING COMMENT: There may be unspoken requirements for some jobs that you have to be aware of. Don’t be afraid to dig for this information.
    NOTE: Even though Human Rights legislation does not allow employers to discriminate on the basis of race, religion, age, gender etc., you can train for some jobs, in which you will never be hired, unless you meet their unspoken requirements. Do not bury your head in the sand about this. Be Realistic.

  40. How important is natural charisma and persuasive ability in doing well in this job?
  41. Do you have any disabilities? How can you make these work for you rather than against you?
  42. What are your most important or strongest needs right now?
  43. GUIDING COMMENT:Are you available to travel? Or do you need to be home everyday for your kids?

  44. What questions, unique to your life and situation, do you need to have answered? Write them out.
  45. Do you feel that this work is worthwhile for you?
  46. Will this work affect your home life? Put stress on your family? Strain your relationship?
  47. Will you have time for your own personal leisure activities, interests and hobbies?
  48. Can you see yourself doing this work and being happy at it?
  49. What kind of a contribution will you be making to your community through this work? Is this important to you?
  50. Will this job require you to make major changes to your lifestyle? What are they? Are you comfortable with this?
  51. Does this work fit my personality type?
  52. Will my central motivations keep me interested in this kind of work?
  53. GUIDING COMMENT:If your main motivations aren’t being used in the job, let it go? You can’t keep up an interest very long, in a job that doesn’t motivate you.

  54. Can I use my preferred intelligences in this job?
  55. Does this job satisfy my work preferences? Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising or Conventional.
  56. How do I find out more about this job?
  57. After you have answered these questions, ask yourself: Am I still interested in this job?

Changing Your Mind

While doing your research, using these basic questions, you may decide: “You know what. I’m not really interested in this type of work. It’s not what I thought it was.”

If that happens it’s Ok. That’s exactly why it’s important to research a job, before you waste time going any further with it.

If that happens it’s Ok. That’s exactly why it’s important to research a job, before you waste time going any further with it. Now that you know why that job is not for you, you can move on to the next one, and test that out using this Basic Questions Checklist.


More Basic Questions?

Here is a shortlist of 20 Interview Questions for Information Interviews to ask when conducting your Informational Interviews.

You will get a great start in your informational interviews – by phone or in person – when you confidently begin the ball rolling, and put your interviewee at ease, by asking these questions.

You may find that these questions act as a springboard, to other questions that will come to mind, as you go through the interview.



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Step 1 - Discovering Who You Are
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Links to Step 3 - Getting into the Nitty Gritty

Step 3 - Doing the Research For Your Dream Job
Links to Step 4 - Taking Care of Your Career

Step 4 - Managing Your Career - Doing Career Planning
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