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The top 5 things to ask in an informational interview

Are you looking to define your next career steps? Or perhaps you are interested in learning more about a new industry before pursuing a job opportunity? Or maybe you want to practice your interviewing skills? All of these various situations can be pursued by conducting informational interviews.

An informational interview is a one-on-one conversation with someone in an industry or a role you would like to pursue. That person may have a job you might like, or simply work within an industry you’re considering. They could also be employed by a company that you’re interested in learning more about. These interviews are a great way to decide on your career path, determine your next career moves, focus your aspirations, or figure out if a company or role would be a good fit. They are a way to learn more about what a day is like in the field. You can get that inside perspective before you jump in.

However, what should you discuss in an informational interview? Here are the top five things we recommend you ask in an informational interview:

  1. What are some of the trends in this field?
  2. What are some of the challenges?
  3. What does a typical day on the job consist of?
  4. What do you like best and least about what you do?
  5. What qualifications and experience does someone need to have in order to get a job and succeed in this field?

As a bonus, to connect with the person you will be interviewing, especially if don’t already know them, try asking them how they got started in the industry/organization. This can help to break the ice and find common ground. 

We also recommend sending your questions in advance to the person so that they will have time to prepare and aren’t caught off guard. This will help to ensure that you both make the most out of your time together. 

We recommend that your interview be no longer than 20 minutes. For more tips on conducting successful informational interviews, join us for our free webinar!