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Informational Interviewing Guide

  1. Informational interviewing allows you to:
  2. Locating Contacts
  3. Setting Up the Interview
  4. Preparing for the Interview
    1. General career field
    2. Specific to company
    3. Final and important question
  5. The Meeting
  6. After the Interview
  7. Links

Informational interviewing allows you to:

  • Explore careers and gain perspective on skills needed
  • Develop knowledge of industry trends
  • Gain exposure to various jobs and different organizational cultures
  • Create a professional network aiding in the job search
  • Develop interviewing skills in a non-threatening situation

Locating Contacts

  • Through experience based classes and assignments
  • Advisors, faculty and staff
  • Alumni
  • Colleagues, classmates, friends, parents, parents' friends, friends' parents
  • LinkedIn groups and professional associations

Setting Up the Interview

Initial contact via email or phone should include:

  • An introduction of yourself
  • Why you are contacting the person and how you got their name
  • Your interests as it relates to the field/industry

Preparing for the Interview

Research the organization/company/career field and the person you will be meeting. Preparing for the interview shows respect for the interviewee. Review the organization/company's mission statement, new initiatives, long term projects, media attention, and overview.

Prepare a list of questions which will help you gather information to stimulate a conversation between you and the professional. Possible questions include:

General career field

  • What credentials or degrees are required for entry into this kind of work?
  • What types of prior experience are absolutely essential? What experiences do you recommend?
  • What skills or abilities are most essential for success in this job/career field?
  • Describe a typical work day or work week.
  • What parts of the job do you find most satisfying/challenging?
  • What is the job outlook for this field?
  • What are typical entry-level jobs in this field?
  • What do you suggest in regards to job search strategies?
  • What advice would you give to someone starting out in this field?
  • What professional associations/journals would you recommend?
  • What are the most important trends/issues in this field?

Specific to company

  • Could you please provide an overview of your organization/company?
  • Could you please provide an overview of your office/department/division?
  • What is rewarding about working at this organization/company?
  • What types of professional development opportunities are available?

Final and important question

  • Is there anyone else you can recommend I speak with for additional information?

The Meeting

  • Remember this session is for gathering information, not for a job. Therefore, you will be asking most of the questions.
  • Begin by introducing yourself and reaffirming your purpose (to get information).
  • Limit your visit to 30 minutes. Be respectful of others' time. The interviewee may extend this time, but leave it up to that person.

After the Interview

  • Send a thank-you note - express your appreciation for the interview and mention a couple of pieces of helpful advice from the meeting.
  • Connect with them on LinkedIn. Join LinkedIn groups the interviewee recommends.
  • Stay in touch - This contact might be beneficial in the job search process.

Contact Academic and Career Advising

Academic and Career Advising Office
603-358-2500
Elliot Center
229 Main Street
Keene, New Hampshire 03435