University at Albany

Informational Interview questions

In an informational interview you get to ask whatever you want EXCEPT – do not ask for a job.  

Ask your interviewee the questions you really want to know about their career field.  You should also ask them if they know of anyone else you can talk to.    Be respectful of their time and remember to follow up with a thank you letter or email.  Keep in touch with them as you progress through college and as you build your career.

When you are exploring a career:

  • How do you spend a typical day or week? 
  • What functions do you do?  What are you responsible for?
  • How did you get into this career? 
  • Was yours a typical career path?
  • What do you think are the most important skills/qualifications for someone in this job?
  • Does someone need a specific degree or major to do this work?
  • Tell me about the environment you work in.
  • What type of work schedule does this career require (overtime, weekends, freelancing, travel, etc.)?
  • What is a typical entry-level position?
  • What about starting salaries?
  • What professional organizations are active in this field?  Which do you belong to?
  • What trade or professional journals do you read?
  • How can someone advance in this field?  What are the opportunities for growth? What advanced opportunities exist beyond the entry level?
  • What advice would you have for me if I chose to pursue a career in this area?

When you are looking for information about how to get hired into a specific career:

  • How do I find out about job openings in this field? Are there specific job sites that would be helpful?
  • What departments within a company use the skills and interests I’ve mentioned?
  • I’m interested in relocating to _____.  Do you know of anyone in your industry that I could talk to there? Do you know of companies in that area that might be hiring for the field?
  • How do most people get hired into this organization? 
  • Are some methods more effective than others?
  • Does this organization require application forms or exams?
  • How competitive is the entry-level job market in this geographic region?
  • What is the turnover rate for this type of position? 
  • What are other organizations in this field to which I might apply?