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30 Questions to Ask in an Informational Interview

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Learn the definition of an informational interview and how it might help your current job hunt.

In this post, we’ll outline the benefits of having prepared questions for an informational interview, questions to ask in an informational interview and offer some advice on how to conduct a productive interview.

30 Questions to Ask in an Informational Interview

Make sure to adjust your list as it makes sense. The questions you ask in an informational interview should be pertinent to the interviewee’s field of expertise. In your next informational interview, you might want to ask the professionals the following queries:

1. What made you choose to work in this field?

The query is a fantastic method to learn more about your interviewee and determine whether your objectives and motives coincide.

2. Could you describe how you came to hold your current position?

Pay attention to the professional’s early roles in their area and the lessons they picked up along the road. This might provide information on the procedures you must follow to land the job.

Questions to Ask in an Informational Interview
Questions to Ask in an Informational Interview

3. What are the essential procedures one should follow to get ready for a job similar to yours?

This response provides clear, doable benchmarks that you may use to create goals. Since the candidate initially started in their field, there may have been distinct steps for ambitious professionals in each setting.

4. What achievements do you believe make you unique in this field?

Even though you should prepare the interviewee in advance, they might disclose more personally significant or unreported achievements when responding to this question. In the future, you might discover unique strategies for differentiating oneself from other applicants.

5. Have you had any work experience outside of your field that has helped you succeed in your current position?

The professional’s job history and talents that are transferable across industries can be learned from this inquiry.

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6. What professional new skills have you acquired since taking on this position?

Knowing this is crucial if the professional has changed careers.

7. Is your current position related to the major you studied in college?

If not, what path through your career brought you to this position? It is crucial to ascertain whether a particular postsecondary degree is required for the position they occupy. As an alternative, you might want to enquire about any relevant courses you should do to get ready for the career.

8. Which certifications are necessary for this position or would help you stand out in it?

Although you can do some preliminary research on credentials, a professional may be able to offer additional advice on which qualifications are best to pursue.

9. Have you ever held an internship? Does your business appreciate internships?

Ask about the best methods for locating internship opportunities and how internships might help you stand out as a candidate in the future. To add context, you can also share your own experiences.

10. Could you describe what it’s like to work for (or lead) your business?

The interviewee’s viewpoint, whether they are a management, an individual contributor, or a business owner, may help guide your career choice. You might be able to determine if the role and industry are a good fit for you based on their responses.

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11. What decisions do you make in your position?

All professionals should have a decision-making process, but this question is especially crucial if the expert you’re interviewing owns their own business. You might obtain insight into the professional’s method for weighing employee, coworker, and customer needs when setting job priorities.

12. Can you define the culture of your business?

The response to this query should provide details about the company’s values, management and leadership style, method of problem-solving, and method of treating people.

13. What do you like best about your job?

This can be a pleasant method to learn more about the person you’re interviewing and discover why they appreciate their job.

14. What aspect of your employment do you find the least enjoyable?

This is yet another excellent technique to discover the more challenging aspects of the work. Although no work is ideal, you might be more eager to take on some problems than others.

15. Are you presently engaged in any significant projects?

If you ask what makes the job exciting, you could learn how the organization prioritizes its tasks.

15. Who is your mentor? If any, how have they benefited your professional life?

Although mentoring can be beneficial in any role, the person you interviewed might have provided a list of specific best practices to make the most of mentoring in this particular role.

Questions to Ask in an Informational Interview
Questions to Ask in an Informational Interview

17. How many hours a day do you generally work? Week?

Employees may be required to work irregular or lengthy hours for some jobs. This query will help you determine whether the timetable suits your needs.

18. Can you find a work-life balance in your line of work?

Find a natural moment when your interviewer can talk about their personal lives since this may be a more intimate inquiry. Discussing paid time off and vacation days at this time might also be a good idea.

19. Could you describe the hardest or most common obstacles you encounter in the role?

This might shed light on the job’s realities and whether or not the tasks seem like ones you would like accepting.

20. What other careers would you be interested in pursuing if you weren’t in current position?

Listen for positions that are nearby that you might also want to consider for your career.

21. Could you describe what a normal day at work entails?

This can help you learn about the typical daily duties and obligations of the position to have a better idea of if the real work appears fascinating and pleasurable.

22. I’ve done some research on starting pay in this field. Are these numbers accurate?

Many professions may choose to keep their own salary a secret, but they may provide broad information regarding pay, such as average salaries or typical starting pay for new hires.

23. What have been your company’s or your industry’s biggest rewards?

Rewards might range from monetary ones to ones that are personally beneficial.

24. What is most surprising to you about your position and the industry?

This is a useful method to discover unexpected details that you might not have thought to directly inquire about.

25. What do you wish you knew before entering this field?

This query might provide insight on what to expect and how to prepare for the position or sector.

26. Where do you envision yourself in five years? 10 years?

This response could shed light on how to advance in a firm or along a career path.

27. Are there any further inquiries I ought to make of you?

The interviewee may be able to assist you here, whether you should have asked a question differently or neglected to inquire about a crucial element of the position, business, or sector.

28. Can you suggest any trade journals or organizations that could aid in my professional development?

You can get ready for job in the business by finding out about contacts and trade publications. Ask about books, podcasts, and newsletters related to the industry that you can read or subscribe to.

29. Could you suggest someone else who is familiar with this position well?

The interviewee might be able to connect you with another industry expert who can give you more assistance.

30. Can we continue to communicate?

The informational interview is a chance for you to expand your professional network. You might be able to communicate with the expert by email or on social media.

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Tips for Informational Interviews

Think about putting these advice to use to assist you perform an effective informational interview:

  • Selecting a professional to interview: You might be able to use your contacts to discover a professional in your field or industry. Your friends, family, or college or institution may have a network you can utilize to set up an interview, or they may know someone you can speak to.
  • Before the interview, do some research on the professional: Learn more about the interviewee and the business they work for. Find information by searching company websites, online resumes, videos, and other media. Your choice of questions will be influenced by this information.
  • Be sure you have five to ten questions ready: The interviewee must be interested in the questions in order for them to provide thoughtful responses. Question length should be as brief as feasible.
  • Respect the professional’s time: Informational interviews can be conducted by email or in person and typically last 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Keep your attention on the interviewee: Although the interview is beneficial to you, it also gives the expert a chance to talk about themselves, their business, and their sector. The expert might feel more at ease and continue the conversation if given more time to speak.
  • Pay attentive attention and follow-up questions: Active listening techniques can make the interviewee feel more at ease, which will enable them to give you more insightful information.
  • Take Notes: Bring a notebook and a pen or pencil to take notes. You can remember the material better if you take notes. This demonstrates to the interviewee that you are paying close attention.

In addition to thanking the interviewee for their time, you should also thank the interviewer in a follow-up note. List one or two things you learned from the interview in your message. This act of politeness can help you make a positive first impression on your interviewee.

Questions to Ask in an Informational Interview
Questions to Ask in an Informational Interview

Frequently Asked Questions

In a formal informative interview, how many questions are asked?

You won't have enough time to ask all of the questions because informational interviews typically take 30 minutes. The top 5-7 questions for you to ask are listed below. First, it's beneficial to get to know your contact person and learn more about their background.

An informational interview lasts how long?

15-20 minutes
A brief encounter between a potential employee and someone looking into a job is known as an informational interview. Typically, the interviews run 20 to 30 minutes. specific career. Additionally, informational interviews provide you a behind-the-scenes glimpse at a company you might want to work for in the future.

What happens at the outset of an informational interview?

Take the initiative to run the interview. Pose open-ended inquiries that encourage conversation. Once entering the business or organization, glance about and take note of the working atmosphere, the way people are dressed, the way they communicate (casual or more formal), etc. Consider whether you would want to work here.

What are the 3 stages of Informational Interview?

The informational interview generally has three phases: Phase 1: Small Talk, Phase 2: Questions and Answers, and Phase 3: Next Steps. Some people are more comfortable making small talk than others.

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