The informational interview networking meeting is an opportunity for you to learn from your contact about his/her career, current job, company and industry. Think in advance about what you hope to learn and have your questions prepared. To help you prepare, here are some questions to consider:
- What are your current responsibilities?
- What is a typical day like in your job?
- What do you find most challenging about this job and why?
- What interests you the least about this job?
- What creates the most stress in this job?
- What are the obstacles for someone entering this field?
- What are the most desired skills, abilities and personal qualities you seek in candidates?
- What jobs and experiences led you to this position?
- What is the typical career path in this field?
- What are your long term goals?
- How has your job affected your lifestyle?
- What courses in school have been most relevant to your work?
- Do you usually work independently or as part of a team?
- What is the key to success in your field?
- What do you like and dislike about the company?
- Why did you decide to work for this company?
- How are decisions made here?
- What is the organization’s corporate culture?
- How much work is done independently and how much involves group work?
- How would you describe the work environment?
- What are the organization’s long and short-term goals?
- How does this company differ from its competitors?
- How is the department structured?
- What are the greatest challenges facing the company and/or department at this time?
- How could someone with my background enter this field?
- What are the challenges or issues facing this industry?
- What is the current demand for people in this field?
- What types of jobs are available in this field?
- What can you tell me about the employment outlook?
- What is the history of the industry?
- What are your least and most favorite things about working in this industry?
- Is there any reason you would recommend that someone not enter this industry? If so, why?
Targets and Contacts
- Would you be willing to review my target list of companies and offer feedback?
- What other companies should I be considering? Do you have contacts you can recommend in those organizations?
- What professional organizations would be relevant?
- Are there other people you know and with whom you think I should speak? May I say that you referred me?
- What professional journals and associations do you recommend?
- With the information you have about my education and experience, what roles do you think I should be considering?
- To what industries, sectors or roles do you think my skills and abilities would best fit?
- If you were just staring your career again, what would you do differently?
- What advice do you have for a student entering this field?
- Can you suggest opportunities to gain relevant experience in this field?
You will not be able to ask every question in a single meeting but think about what information you need to gain and use the questions to guide you.