10 Questions to Ask in an Informational Interview
January 23, 2020
Informational interviews can be somewhat intimidating but they’re more relaxed than formal interviews. Unlike a formal interview, informational interviews are meant to be more casual.
Informational interviews can be somewhat intimidating but they’re more relaxed than formal interviews. Unlike a formal interview, informational interviews are meant to be more casual. The purpose of these informational interviews is to have a conversation with someone working in the field that interests you. So, for example, if you were interested in business, you may want to speak to a management consultant or an operations manager and ask them questions about what they do and or any advice they can give. These informational interviews are meant to give you a better insight in the career field you want to go in and to expand your network of contacts, so they’re not related to formal interviews or career fairs.
Sometimes informational interviews can be difficult if it’s your first time, but as long as you ask these top 10 questions, you’ll be able to receive the information you need to decide if you want to move forward in this career path or not.
What is your role and what is a typical day like for you?
This question helps you to understand what exactly their role is and what they do on a day to day basis. Understanding and knowing firsthand what their responsibilities are will give you the knowledge you need to know if you can see yourself doing any of these tasks daily in the future.
What parts of your role do you enjoy the most and enjoy the least?
It’s good to ask this question to understand what may be the most tedious and what may be more enjoyable. Asking this question is important because you’ll be able to see from a different point of view if these tasks will be able to challenge you and teach you.
Why did you choose this field and type of work?
It’s always informative to know why people choose to work in a certain field. It will give you a different perspective to see if your goals align with theirs and if you have similar mindsets. Sometimes, hearing someone else’s point of view can help you better understand if you are going into this field for the right reasons.
What do you think are the most important skills and experience needed in order to work in this field or perform to your job?
Hearing exactly what skills you need from someone working in your desired career field will help you determine if you may be ready or if you need to work on strengthening any skills. It’s perfectly fine if the skills they listed are skills you do not have strengths in or experience in because this is still valuable knowledge for you to have.
What problems would someone new to this job face?
It’s always important to know what problems someone new may face because then, you’ll have firsthand knowledge of what to expect and be careful of. For example, if you’re looking into a customer service career path, the person you are speaking to may say it’s challenging for shy, introverted people since it involves you speaking to people on a daily basis. This knowledge will help you to determine if this is something you can handle and see yourself doing.
What types of people do you generally work with?
This information will allow you to determine what types of people you can handle working with. Do you like working with people who are more team-players? Do you like working with people who are independent and do their responsibilities with little to no communication with others?
What is your proudest accomplishment?
Ideally, you would want to work in a career field that challenges you, motivates you and makes you proud of working there. Asking this question will allow you to understand if you will grow and what accomplishments you may have.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out in this field?
Knowledge is power so any advice that you can get from someone in the field will be beneficial to you.
Having hard a description of my background and experience, what do you think I could do to better prepare myself to be successful in this career?
Personally speaking, this is an important question to ask. Ideally, you will have spoken to this person in your field about who you are, your career goals and experience. So now that you are speaking to someone in your field, they know off the bat what experience and skills people need in order to have a similar career. Asking this question will help you to understand what you need to work on and improve. What skills do you need to strengthen? What experience should you try to gain?
If you could do it all over again, would you choose the same path for yourself? If not, what would you change?
Sometimes, people aren’t excited about their career path years later or down the line, and that’s okay! Asking this question will allow you to understand what may have changed and to give you a heads up about what is to come if you choose this path.
As long as you prepare yourself with a list of questions, you should be ready for your next informational interview. These questions will give you the insight and knowledge you need to know in order to determine if this is the career path for you or to know what skills you need to work on in order to be successful. Try not to be too intimidated, as these people want to help you with your journey!