Informational Interviews for Job Search Success – Part Two

Once you have successfully scheduled your informational interview you need to begin your preparation.  In addition to researching the company and the contact, you must also consider the most critical questions you plan to ask the contact to maximize the value of the meeting.

What to Ask in an informational interview

  • Customize the questions to each specific situation and have a reasonable number of questions to respect the contact’s time
  • Prioritize the questions you hope to address
  • Jobs/Roles
    • What responsibilities do you have in this role?
    • What is a typical day like?
    • What do you enjoy most about this work and why?
    • What do you find most challenging about this work and why?
    • What are the obstacles for someone entering this field?
    • What are the most critical skills, abilities and personal qualities for success in this field?
    • What is a typical career path to arrive in this position?  What was your path to this role?
  • Companies/Organizations/Work Environment
    • What you like and dislike about the company?
    • Why did you decide to join this company?
    • How are decisions made?
    • How would you describe the corporate culture?
    • How is the Marketing (or other) department structured?
    • How much work is done in teams?
    • What are the company’s greatest challenges and how does your work address any of those challenges?
  • Industries
    • How could someone with my background enter this field?
    • What are the major current challenges in this industry?
    • What is current demand for jobs in this field?
    • What do you like most and least about working in this industry?
    • What first attracted you to this industry?
  • Contacts
    • Would you be willing to review my target list of companies and share feedback?
    • What other companies should I be considering given my background?
    • What types of organizations hire people to perform similar functions?
    • Do you know anyone I could speak to in this specific role that interests me?
  • Advice
    • What professional journals and associations do you recommend?
    • Given my experience and skills, what advice do you have to share about target industries, companies or role?
    • If you were in my situation, what options would you prioritize?
    • If you had it to do over again in your career, what changes would you make?
    • What advice to you have for a student interested in entering this field?
  • Giving Back
    • Show your appreciation and offer to assist the person in any way you can
    • Ask permission before sending a LinkedIn request
    • Remember to say thank you by sending a handwritten thank you note, make a positive impression so you can stay connected
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