Thomas Jefferson University

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During the Informational Interview

Ask Questions
Be prepared with a series of questions designed to show your interest in the organization. The focus of this interview should be a chance to learn more about the organization or career. Maintain good posture and eye contact. Choose the questions you feel are most important in order to stay within your stated time frame. It is inappropriate to ask for a position during an informational interview.

  • How did you get into this work? ...get started in this job?
  • How did you prepare yourself for this job? ...this profession?
  • What classes or projects will prepare me for this career field? What is the most valuable thing you learned in college?
  • Knowing what you know now, would you take the same job again? Why or why not?
  • What do you like most about your job? ...least about it? What do you find most rewarding?
  • What skills and/or personal qualities are necessary in this career?
  • What do you do in a typical day? Typical week?
  • What type of people do you work with?
  • What are other specialties in this career field? (Get referrals if appropriate)
  • How do you feel about your job? Are there high times, low times?
  • What is your organization trying to accomplish?
  • Would you advise people to enter this career field? Why or why not?
  • What, in your opinion, is the job outlook in this field? What will affect its growth or decline?
  • What are related positions/organizations a person interested in this field might explore?
  • Who do you know that I might talk with? May I use your name in contacting this person?
  • What publications, blogs, etc. do you read? How do you stay informed?
  • To what professional associations do you belong? Do you know if they offer student memberships?
  • Are there any upcoming conferences or networking events that you think I should attend?
  • As I continue to research this career path, would you be willing to serve as a resource from time to time, if I have questions?

Tell Them a Little about Yourself
While the primary focus of the interview should be to gain insight into a particular organization or career, share some of your background with the contact in order to strengthen your professional relationship. Remember that you are there to learn more about them, not just to tell them about yourself. Highlight relevant experiences and anything you may have in common.

Ask for Referrals
This is a good opportunity to learn the names of others that may be able to help you gain additional insight into the field. Ask your contact if they might introduce you, refer you to, or provide contact information for someone else to contact within the profession. Make sure to collect business cards from people you meet and offer yours as well (as a student, it is a good idea to create some business cards for this purpose). At the end of the meeting, offer your resume for future reference. Tell your contact that they are welcome to share your resume if they know someone who might be interested.