Career Services

Information Interviewing - Career

Career decision making is a process requiring time, thought, and a great deal of information. Part of the information you seek will be easily accessible in the form of books, annual reports, and literature from potential employers. These sources, however, are not sufficient.

In order to fully explore employment options you need to talk to people in the field who can give you an in-depth picture of a particular job or organization. They can best provide insights on a typical workday, information about what skills are most needed, ideas on other career options and "inside information" about the organization. The process of gathering this information is called "information interviewing".

Students tend to shy away from this valuable information source because they do not know how to proceed or they don't know what questions to ask. When students think of utilizing their contacts, it is usually in terms of inquiring about job vacancies, rather than seeking background information about an employer or occupational field. Information interviewing can be the start of your own network: you will be in the "loop" and will possess the knowledge and confidence to take the next step on your own.

Choosing a Career

Start with who you know
Prepare ahead of time

Questions for Informational Interviewing

Know what your information needs are and what kinds of questions you want to ask ahead of time. It's easy to let the conversation get off the track and then you leave without knowing more than when you started. Listed below are sample questions for you to adapt to your own language. You are encouraged to think of others that are of specific concern to you. The questions are divided into two categories:

  1. Occupational Field: Questions to generate more in-depth information on a particular field and also questions to generate information on closely related field to help you develop more options.
  2. Employer: Questions on work setting, hiring procedures, etc.
Occupational Field
Employer Information

Conducting the Interview

1. Initial contact
2. In-person interviews
3. Introductions
4, Length of interview
5. Developing rapport/gathering information
6. Getting referrals
7. Ending the interview
8. Send thank you note
9. Maintain Records