Informational interviews allow you to have a conversation with working professionals to help prepare you to choose a major, understand various career fields, and enter the job market.
What is an informational interview?
An informational interview is your opportunity to ask an industry professional all your questions about the field, its opportunities and the jobs within it.
It's not a job interview. In an informational interview, you ask the questions that will help you gain insight as to whether a career is right for you and how you can set yourself up to succeed in the field.
Setting up your interview
Once you've identified a professional in your field, send an email or give them a call to request an interview—and let them know you found them through the Pioneer Career Network. Let them know the interview typically lasts for around 20-30 minutes.
Getting the most out of your interview
In an informational interview, you can ask all your questions about the industry, career, educational requirements and day-to-day tasks, and get those questions answered by an expert in your chosen field. To get the most out of your interview, we encourage you to do some research and prepare a list of questions ahead of time.
Don't know what to ask? Don't worry; we have some suggestions:
Sample informational interview questions
- I would like to know how most people get into this field.
- How did you become interested in your area of work?
- Which part(s) of the job is most challenging for you? Why?
- Which part(s) of the job is most rewarding? Why?
- Can you see enough growth in this field/business that you would advise me to pursue it?
- What changes/trends have you seen in recent years, and where is the industry going?
- What personal attributes do you think are essential to success in this field?
- How could I research materials and career trends in your industry?
- Which professional journals and organizations should I know about?
- What skills are required of a (position of interest) on a day-to-day basis?
- What experiences have you had that have been invaluable to your learning the business?
- Which areas of study/degrees would you recommend I pursue before I go any further?
- How did you get your job?
- From your perspective, what are the challenges working for this field/type of employer?
- Would you describe a typical work day? Work week?
- What motivates you to stay in this line of work?
- What is the reason most people give when they leave this field?
- What would you say are the life-style considerations in your area?
- Regarding promotions, what steps have most people taken?
- What industry experience do most of the directors on the Board have in common?
- If you could do it all over again, would you choose the same path for yourself? Why? What would you change?
After your informational interview
After you've met with your industry expert, don't forget to send a thank you card or email. And when you land your dream job in the industry, let them know.