50+ Important Informational Interview Questions to Ask

Informational interview questions to ask. Informational interviews are an excellent approach to gain insight into a business, industry, or career. While there are several online sites for learning about the typical income and usual duties associated with various career choices, speaking with someone who has first-hand experience may provide a unique perspective and insight into the realities of work.

informational interview questions

What are informational interviews?

An informative interview is a casual chat with someone who works in a field that interests you. It is an excellent research technique and should be used in conjunction with early internet research. This is not a job interview, and the purpose is not to locate employment opportunities.

Why are informational interviews important?

Here are the benefits of an informational interview and how they could assist in your job search:

  • Gain firsthand knowledge of the reality of working in a specific profession, industry, or position.
  • Discover job paths you were unaware existed.
  • Discover secret ideas and strategies for preparing for and landing your first job role.
  • Discover what it's like to work for a certain organization.
  • Establish a professional relationship and broaden your network of contacts in a certain career sector; meet individuals who may send you future employment prospects.

Related: Common interview questions

How to conduct an informational interview

Here's how to conduct an informational interview:

  • Dress impeccably and appropriately for a job interview.
  • If you are meeting in person, ensure that you arrive on time or a few minutes early.
  • Bring your list of questions and, if desired, take notes.
  • Reiterate that your goal is to obtain information and guidance, not to obtain employment.
  • Briefly describe yourself and your educational and/or professional history.
  • Prepare to guide the interview, but also allow for spontaneous discussion and encourage the interviewee to do the majority of the talking.
  • Respect the individual's time. Limit the meeting within the time allotted.
  • Inquire whether you may contact the individual again in the future with more inquiries.
  • Solicit the names of other people to meet in order to obtain a variety of viewpoints.

informational interview questions

Related: Zoom interview tips

Informational interview question list

Ask these questions during your next informational interview. Questions to ask during informational job interviews:

  • Why did you decide on this professional path?
  • How did you end up in this position?
  • What are your current projects?
  • How is it to work for your company?
  • Which prior job experiences have aided you the most?
  • What is the most significant obstacle your department faces?
  • What is the most difficult aspect of your job?
  • How would you describe the ideal candidate for this position?
  • What is the most critical aspect of preparing for a position such as yours?
  • What do you wish someone had informed you prior to embarking on this professional path?
  • What is the most significant benefit of your job?
  • What about your daily work might surprise people?
  • What is the most significant disadvantage of your job?
  • What would you do differently if you could go back in time?
  • How will this position evolve over the next decade?
  • Could you recommend a couple of additional persons who might be able to provide me with advice on this job?
  • What makes this job interesting?
  • What would be your advice during a phone interview with the company?
  • Would you advise that I get a career coach?
  • What career paths are open for me?
  • Which professional associations should I join?
  • Which personal attributes make someone a great fit for what the job entails?
  • Exactly what do you think the hiring manager is looking for in an employee?
  • What should I put in my cover letter?

Performing informational interviews could give you exposure to the hidden job market. Or roles that aren't open, yet.

informational interview questions

Related: Phone interview questions

Informational interview questions to ask

The questions you ask should be customized and pertinent to the interviewee's industry, so be sure to adjust your list accordingly.

The following are few questions to consider while conducting your next informative interview with a professional:

1. What drew you to this industry?

The question is an excellent approach to learn about your interviewee and see whether your objectives and motives are compatible.

2. Could you explain to me how you came to be in your current position?

Take note of the professional's early duties in their industry and the lessons they acquired along the way. This might provide details regarding the procedures you must follow in order to obtain the job.

Related: Final interview questions

informational interview questions

3. What are the most critical measures that someone should take in order to prepare for a position similar to yours?

This solution provides specific, concrete milestones for which you may establish goals. Each scenario is unique, and ambitious professionals may have taken a variety of stages since the interviewee initially started their industry.

4. What achievements do you believe distinguish you in this industry?

While you should conduct preliminary research about your subject, they may reveal more personally significant or unreported accomplishments while responding to this topic. You may discover new strategies for distinguishing yourself from other applicants in the future.

5. Did you have any non-industry-related professional experiences that helped you thrive in your present position?

This inquiry is beneficial for ascertaining the professional's job history and determining which abilities are transferrable across sectors.

6. What new professional abilities have you acquired since taking on this role?

This is particularly critical to know if the professional has switched careers.

7. How relevant was your undergraduate major to your present position?

If not, how did you end up in this position? It is critical to ascertain if the individual's post-secondary degree is required for the position they occupy. Alternatively, you may choose to inquire about any necessary courses to prepare for the job.

8. Which qualifications are necessary for your position or can help you stand out in this field?

While you can conduct a preliminary study on credentials, the expert may be able to give further insight on the appropriate certifications to pursue.

9. Have you ever worked as a volunteer? Does your organization place a premium on internship experience?

Following that, inquire about the most effective methods for locating internship opportunities and how internships may help you become a more competitive applicant. Additionally, you may contribute your own experience to offer context.

10. Could you describe what it's like working for (or running) your company?

Whether the interviewee is a manager, an individual contributor, or a business owner, their perspective may assist you to make professional decisions. Their responses may also assist you in determining whether the position and industry are a good fit for you.

11. In your job, what kind of decisions do you make?

This question is especially pertinent if the professional you are interviewing is self-employed, but all professions should have a decision-making process. You may obtain insight into how the professional prioritizes duties and the requirements of employees, coworkers, and customers.

12. Could you define your organization's culture?

The response to this question should provide insight into the organization's principles, management and leadership style, approach to problem resolution, and treatment of workers.

13. What is your favorite aspect of your job?

This may be an entertaining approach to learn more about your candidate while also discovering why they like their job.

14. What is the least enjoyable aspect of your job?

This is another excellent method to become acquainted with the more challenging aspects of the work. While no work is ideal, you may be more interested in the challenges associated with some positions than others.

15. Are you currently working on any significant projects?

This question may shed light on what makes the job exciting and how the organization prioritizes work.

16. Do you have a mentor? If you have, how have they aided your career?

While mentorship is beneficial in every position, your interviewee may explain unique recommended practices for maximizing mentorship effectiveness in this capacity.

informational interview questions

17. How many hours each day do you normally work?

Certain jobs may demand people to work unusually lengthy or irregular hours. This is a good question to ask to ascertain whether the timetable works for you.

18. Is it possible for you to maintain a work-life balance in your field?

This may be a more personal question, so choose an appropriate moment for your interviewer to provide information about their lives outside of work. This is also an excellent opportunity to discuss vacation and paid time off.

19. Could you describe the most challenging or frequent problems you experience in your current role?

This might provide light on the job's realities and whether the tasks seem like ones you'd like to take on.

20. If you weren't in your job, what other opportunities would you consider?

Consider related occupations that could be a good fit for your career path.

21. Could you describe a typical day in your job?

This will help you grasp the typical day-to-day activities and obligations of the position, as well as if the actual work appears to be fun and fascinating.

22. I conducted some research about entry-level compensation in this sector. Are these numbers correct?

While many professionals choose to keep their personal wages secret, they may provide general information regarding compensation, such as typical salaries or standard earnings for entry-level employees.

23. What have been the most significant rewards you've encountered in your sector or company?

Rewards may include both personal and monetary advantages.

24. What about your position and industry shocked you the most?

This is an excellent method to obtain unexpected facts that you may not have thought to inquire about precisely.

25. What do you wish you knew when you first entered this industry?

This question can assist establish expectations and provide insight into how you should prepare for employment or entry into a certain sector.

26. In five years, where do you see yourself? What, ten years?

This response may provide light on growth prospects inside a firm or on a particular professional path.

27. Are there any other questions that I should ask you?

Whether you should have framed a question better or neglected to inquire about a critical component of the position, organization, or industry, the interviewee may be able to assist you in this area.

28. Are there any professional publications or organizations that you believe might benefit my professional development?

Inquiring about contacts and trade magazines might assist you in preparing for an industry job. Additionally, you may inquire about industry-related books, podcasts, and newsletters that you may read or subscribe to.

29. Could you recommend someone else who is intimately familiar with this job?

The interviewee may be able to connect you with another industry specialist who may assist you further.

30. Can we maintain contact?

You should take advantage of the informative interview chance to expand your professional network. You might be able to reach the expert via social media or email.

informational interview questions

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, SHRM.org, Process.st, FairyGodBoss, HRCI.org, St. Edwards University, NC State University, IBTimes.com, Thrive Global, TMCnet.com, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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