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One of the best ways to help you prepare for entry into your career fields of interest.


  • Gain confidence in self-initiated information interviews and practice the skills utilized during job interviews.

  • Clarify your goals and expand your network in the exploration of career fields and industries of interest.

  • Discover employment opportunities that were not advertised.

  • Access first-hand and up-to-date information about various careers.

  • Get a sense of the corporate culture of a particular organization.

  • Help you prepare for a job interview by becoming better informed about a specific job and its responsibilities.


1. Identify the Occupation/Industry/Company You Want to Learn About

  • Library (books, periodicals, magazines, etc.).

  • Literature from company's public relations department; call and tell them you  have a scheduled meeting and would like information.

  • Annual reports.

  • Talking to people.

2. Identify Contacts

  • Start with friends, family, neighbors, and faculty.

  • Identify alumni from relevant universities, colleges or schools who are willing to speak with you.

  • Professional organizations, organizational directories, and the yellow pages.

3. Prepare for the Interview

  • Conduct some research and get as much information as you can about the field or the organization BEFORE you seek an information interview.   The information could be the organization’s products, structure, services, financial status, competitors, reputation and any recent major changes. In addition, try to discover information about the person whom you will meet-- background, style, education and their "hot button" issues. Ask only those questions that you can not obtain from printed materials.

  • Write down the specific questions that you want to ask, which you could not have answered from the available resources (it is OK to have notes with you). Please refer to “Information Interview Questions”.

  4. Arrange the Meeting

You may contact the person you wish to interview by:

  • Telephone or e-mail.  Followings are tips for phone calls:

A.  Get the telephone number of the organization where you would like to do an information interview. Call and ask for the name of the person with whom you would like to speak ("Who is head of the ________ department?")

B.  Telephone the person you want to talk with. If he/she is not available, ask for someone else who works in that department.

C.  Say to this person: "I am interested in the kind of work that your organization does, and would like to know more about it. I am not looking for a job. Instead, I need information and possibly advice about how to get into this field and what the work is like. Could I meet with you at your convenience to ask a few questions?"

D.  If this person cannot meet with you, ask him/her if someone else in the department would be willing to talk with you.

  • A letter of introduction followed by a telephone call.

  • Having someone who knows the person set the meeting for you.

5. Conduct the Interview

  • Dress appropriately, arrive on time, and be professional.

  • Refer to your questions, but leave room for spontaneous discussions.

  • Be prepared to answer questions about your own interests and motivations - your contact will want to know something about you in order to frame the advice he or she provides.

  • Before you leave, be sure you have your contact's business card. Additionally, ask your contact to suggest others who might be helpful to your research. Ask permission to use your contact's name when contacting these new people.

  • Make sure you do not overstay you welcome.

  6. Follow Up

  • Immediately following the interview, take the time to jot down your thoughts, impressions, and information gathered. Send a thank-you note within one week of the interview.


  1. When you seek an information interview, make it clear that you are not looking for a job. If the person believes you are trying to get a job interview in a sneaky way, he/she will be reluctant to talk with you.

  2. Do not use the information interview as an opportunity to push your resume onto someone.

  3. The information interview is an opportunity for a pleasant, informal conversation in which the person acquaints you with his/her field of work and specific job responsibilities. It is also a chance for you to ask for advice about the best ways to enter this field. 

  4. Have your first information interviews with people who are easy to contact, either because you know them or because they are easily available. This will help you get accustomed to the process, so that you can approach less familiar people later.

  5. Try to meet with your contact in person if at all possible. Interviewing people at their place of work allows you to get an inside view of the working environment, to see how people are dressed and act toward one another, and to generally evaluate the pace of the office.  However. In some cases, you will only get a telephone interview.

  6. Do not assume that people will take a lot of time to talk with you. Be respectful of their time. If he or she resists a particular question you have asked, move to another question without pursuing the first one.

  7. Listen attentively. Do not interrupt even when a different question occurs to you while he/she is talking.

  8. Ask only those questions which are most important to you. You may not have time to ask the others.

  9. Ask for references to other people and/or materials that can extend your search for relevant information.

  10. You can also request information interviews IN PERSON. The more informal the organization (smaller firms tend to be less formal), the more likely you might get an information interview on a walk-in basis.

  11. Always remember that each person you speak with is only one person. Do not form an opinion about a career after speaking with only one or two people. Speaking with a variety of people from a variety of organizations provides you with a much more three-dimensional image of what a potential career holds


The items to ask:

  • Field of work

  • Credential Requirements

  • Nature of work

  • Where employed

  • Earnings

  • Advancement potential

  • Related fields of work

  • Personal responses

  • Rewards of the job

  • Problems of the job

  • Skills developed

  • Advancement potential

  • Uncertainties of the job

  • Greatest disappointments

  • Greatest surprises

  • Specific job

  • Major responsibilities
  • Key problems

  • Criteria for hiring

  • Academic requirements

  • Nature of the work

  • Resources available to do the job

  • Training opportunities

2.     Sample questions:

  • How did you choose this career field?

  • What has been your career path?

  • How did you prepare for this kind of work? What was your college major?

  • On a typical day in this position, what do you do?

  • What training, education, licenses are required for this type of work?

  • What kinds of prior experience are absolutely essential?

  • What types of employment or internships would you recommend?

  • What personal qualities or abilities are important to being successful in this job?

  • What are the toughest problems you have to deal with?

  • What is the most rewarding part of your job?

  • What opportunities for advancement are there in this field?

  • What other organizations or fields might someone like you be working?

  • If you were to leave this kind of work, what would drive you away?

  • If things develop as you would like, what does the future hold for your career?

  • What different kinds of work do you feel you could do if your job was suddenly eliminated?

  • Does your work become more interesting as you stay longer?

  • What entry-level opportunities offer the most ability to learn a great deal?

  • What is the typical salary range for these positions?

  • How do people find out about these jobs? How are they advertised, or is word of mouth more important?

  • How do you see this field changing in the future?

  • Is there a demand for people in this occupation?

  • What obligations does your work place on you, outside the regular work week?

  • How much flexibility do you have in terms of dress, hours of work, vacation schedule, place of residence?

  • What special advice would you give a person entering this field?

  • If you were to hire someone to work with you today, which of the following would be most important in your hiring decision and why: Educational credentials? Past work experience? Personality/personal attributes? Specific skills/talents? Applicant’s knowledge of your organization, department and job? Other?

  • If you were a college graduate again, and had it to do all over, knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?

  • Which professional journals and organizations would help me learn more about this field?

  • What is the organizational structure?

  • What is the average length of time employees stay with the organization?

  • What type of formal or on-the-job training does the organization provide?

  • How does the organization compare/differ with its competitors?

  • With the information you have about my education, skills, and experience, what other fields would you suggest I research further before making a final decision?

  • What is your opinion of my background/resume? Do you see any problem areas or weaknesses?

  • Are there any hiring practices typical to your organization or field?

  • Who do you know that might be willing to speak with me as well? May I use your name when contacting him/her?

  • Work environment/Lifestyle?

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