The informational interview is one of the most underrated networking techniques. You can meet someone new in your industry, at a company where you’d like to work, or someone higher up in your own company and learn some truly valuable insight for your own career. It’s all about building a relationship with the other person. If it goes well, you may even land a new career mentor.
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Unlike a job interview, in an informational interview you will be asking all the questions. Once you decide your goals for the meeting, make a list of questions you’d like to ask. If you don’t know where to start, here are 25 examples of questions to ask when conducting an informational interview:
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 job search and career goals. Because an this interview is not the same as a job interview, you need to think about the long-term. Build a relationship.
What are some other good questions for informational interviews?
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