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Informational Interview Questions (Career)

♦ = must ask question

Starter Questions

• What is your job like on a typical day?
• What percentage of your time is spent doing what?
• What are the specific duties/functions/responsibilities of your job?
• What kinds of problems do you solve?

Interviewee Background:

• How did this type of work interest you and how did you get started?
• What jobs and experiences have led you to your present position?  Which have been most helpful?  If you were entering this career today, would you change your preparation in any way to facilitate entry?
• Why did you decide to work for this company?
If you could do things all over again, would you choose the same path for yourself?  Why?  What would you change?
• Do you have any special words of warning or encouragement as a result of your experience?

Personal Questions:

Is this the career you expected?  Why or why not?
• What part of this job do you personally find most satisfying?  Most challenging?
• Do you find your job exciting or boring?  Why?
• What do you like and not like about your job/industry?*

Company Culture:

• What can you tell me about your company culture?
• Is there a basic philosophy of the company or organization and, if so, what is it?
• How does your company differ from its competitors?
• Why do customers choose this company?
• What does your company do to contribute to its employees’ professional development?
How would you describe the working atmosphere and the people with whom you work?

Industry:

• What sorts of changes are occurring in the industry?
• How is does economy affect this industry?
• What can you tell me about the employment outlook in your occupational field?  How much demand is there for people in this occupation?  How rapidly is the field growing? Can you estimate future job openings?

Career Advancement:

How does a person progress in your field?  What is a typical career path in this field or organization?
• Who is the department head or supervisor for this job?  Where do you and your supervisor fit into the organizational structure?
• If your job progresses as you like, what would be the next step in your career?
• What is the average length of time for an employee to stay in the job you hold?  Are there incentives or disincentives for staying in the same job?
What kinds of experience, paid or unpaid, would you encourage for anybody pursuing a career in this field?

Nature of Work:

What work-related values are strongest in this type of work (security, high income, variety, independence)?
• What abilities or personal qualities do you believe contribute most to success in this field/job?
• These are my strongest assets (skills, areas of knowledge, personality traits and values)…  Where would they fit in this field?  Where would they be helpful in this organization?

Work/Life Balance:

• What obligations does your employer place on you outside of the ordinary work week?  What social obligations go along with a job in your occupation?
• Are there other things you are expected to do outside work hours?
How has your job affected your lifestyle?

Job Satisfaction:

What are the major intrinsic rewards of your job (aside from extrinsic rewards such as money, fringe benefits, travel, etc.)?
• From your perspective, what are the problems you see working in this field?
• What are the major frustrations of this job?
What interests you least about the job or creates the most stress?

College:

• What are the educational, requirements for this job?
• Does your work relate to any experiences or studies you had in college?
• How well did your college experience prepare you for this job?
• What courses have proved to be the most valuable to you in your work?  What would you recommend for me?
• How important are grades/GPA for obtaining a job in this field?
• How do you think a university’s reputation is viewed when it comes to hiring?
How do you think a student’s major is viewed when it comes to hiring?
• How do you think graduation from a private (or public) university is viewed when it comes to hiring?

Qualifications:

• What types of credentials or licenses are required?  What kind of training do companies offer?  Is graduate school recommended?  An MBA?  Does the company encourage and pay for employees to pursue graduate degrees?

Closing Questions:

• Do you have any advice for someone interested in this field/job?
• Do you know of other people who I should talk to?

Send a hand-written thank you note.

Since [name of major] is a possible major for me, I would like to speak with you on the subject of your college experience.

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