Informational interviews are one of the most effective, yet under-utilized networking and job search techniques. In an informal setting, perhaps at a Starbucks over a latte, you can meet someone new in your industry, at a company where you’d like to work, or someone in your own company and learn valuable insight for your own career.
Unlike a job interview, in an informational interview you will be asking all the questions… and the quality of those questions (as well as your ability to listen and learn) will determine how much you, and the interviewee, gain from the experience.
To help you make the most of your info interview opportunity, here are 25 questions you should consider asking that person on the other side of that latte:
Ask Questions About Their Career
- How did you land your current job? How did you get to where you are?
- What do you do during a typical day/week? (If they say every day is different, ask them to describe any recent day they had.)
- What parts of your job do you find most challenging?
- What do find most enjoyable?
- What is the culture like at your company?
- What do you like most about your company?
- What do you like least?
- How has your job affected your lifestyle?
- How is your company different from similar ones?
- What is job growth like at your company?
Ask Questions About the Hiring Process in Their Company
- What entry-level positions are available in the industry?
- What kind of experience would you look for when hiring?
- If I were applying for a job with you, how would you assess my experience so far?
- What would make me stand out as an applicant?
- Do you recommend I join any professional organizations?
- What are some important keywords to include in my resume?
- What do you wish you knew when you were in my position?
Ask Questions About Sharpening Your Own Skills
- What hard skills are important for your job?
- What soft skills make someone excel in this industry?
- What courses would you have taken in college if you could have?
- How do you stay updated on industry trends?
- What industry blogs or publications do you read?
- Who do you follow on social media?
Wrapping Up the Interview
- Is there anyone else you can refer me to talk with?
- Do you have any last advice as I enter the job search?
There are hundreds of questions you could ask in informational interviews. Find out how much time you will have with the person and write a list of questions with your most important ones first, so you have enough time to hit them all.
Whatever you decide to ask depends on what you want to get out of the experience. Think about your long-term job search and career goals. Most important, however: think about building a long-term relationship.
What are some other good questions for informational interviews?
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at ComeRecommended!
About the Author: Jule Gamache is a senior at Penn State studying public relations with a minor in Spanish. Before becoming a content creator trainee, Jule was the public relations research assistant at Come Recommended. She has experience in public relations, social media, blogging, research, and marketing from multiple internships and student organizations. Follow Jule on Twitter!