An informational interview can be a terrific tool for a jobseeker. Informational interviews offer a jobseeker the opportunity to speak to someone in an industry they are interested in and find out whether they have what it takes to make their career in that industry.
Informational interviews are not typically planned around a specific job opening or opportunity, rather they are a chance for a student or jobseeker to learn about an industry, its corporate culture and to get advice on their career from someone who has walked a similar professional path to help them decide if it might be the right fit.
Employers typically grant these interviews as a way to build their candidate pool for future job openings. Typically, at an informational interview, you will arrive and check in with the receptionist. When the interviewer comes out, shake hands, introduce yourself and thank them for their willingness to meet with you. Re-emphasize that you are there to learn and gather information about his or her career field. Prepare your questions in advance and use an informal dialogue during the discussion.Below are ideas for questions to ask during you informational interview.
Since there are hundreds of possible questions you can ask during an informational interview, use these as a guide when you are prepping for your interview. Pick a dozen or so questions that will help you get the most out of your informational interview. You should take notes, or you may want to get permission from your interviewees to record the conversations, which will allow you to participate in the discussion without distraction
Use these questions as a guide but as you practice your informational interviewing skills, other questions will come to mind spontaneously. Pay careful attention to what’s said by the person you speak to and ask questions when something isn’t clear. People are often happy to discuss their positions and willing to provide you with a wealth of information. Try to keep the conversation friendly, brief, and focused on the contact person’s job and career field.