20 Interview Questions to Ask in Informational Interviews

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Here are 20 interview questions you can use, to get started with your Informational Interviews.
Add more interview questions to this list, from the questions that could not be answered from your Basic Research Questions Checklist.

Informational Interview Questions

1. What kind of training or background is necessary for this type of work?
2. How did you get this job, and what kinds of experience and preparation helped you most?
3. Who would you say has been the most help in your career? How did they help you?
4. What are your responsibilities in this position?
5. What do you like most, least about this job? What kind of stress do you deal with?
6. Knowing what you know now, what advice do you have for getting into this work?
7. What personal qualities or abilities, are important for doing well in this kind of work?
8. For you, what part of this job is most satisfying? most challenging?
9. What kind of changes, do you see coming, in this line of work?
10. If you were going to change direction now, where would you go? How would you do it?
11. Can you recommend the best entry level jobs to get started in this line of work?
12. What qualifications, experience, do you look for when interviewing new people in this field?
13. What impresses you in a resume from someone who is applying for a career in this field?
14. What advice would you have for someone like me, who is considering this field?
15. Can you recommend any professional journals I could read in this field?
16. What organizations would you recommend joining?
17. What do you see as the major problems for those working in this field today?
18. What do you think needs to be changed?
19. Can you recommend another person I could interview like this?
20. When I call him/her, may I use your name?

Summary: How to End an Informational Interview

Make sure you don’t take up more of a person’s time than you asked for and he/she agreed to give you. You may not get through all of the above questions, but be sure to ask the last two.

  • Offer to leave the office, or end the call, after 15 minutes.
  • Thank the person for their time and help.
  • Tell them they have been very helpful, that you would like to know more.
  • Always ask: “Could you recommend someone else in the field I could talk to?”
  • If you get another name and number, ask: “May I say you referred me?”
    Tip: The person you call is more likely to be open to you, if you can introduce yourself by saying: “John Smith recommended I call you”.

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