Questions For The Informational Interview
- When you were in college, what did you think your career was going to be? What was your undergraduate major field of study?
- What credentials, educational degrees, licenses, etc. are required for entry into this kind of work?
- What kinds of prior experience are absolutely essential?
- How did you prepare yourself for this work?
- Describe how you occupy your time during a typical work week.?
- What skills or talents are most essential for effectiveness in this job?
- What are the toughest problems you must deal with?
- What do you find most rewarding about the work itself, apart from external motivators, such as salary, fringe benefits, travel, etc.
- If you were to leave this kind of work, what would drive you away from it?
- Which of your past work experiences affect what you do now?
- Have any of your job changes been for reasons of life style? Please explain.
- If things develop as you'd like, what sort of ideal career do you see for yourself?
- If the work you do was suddenly eliminated, what different kinds of work do you feel that you could do?
- How rapidly is your present career field growing? How would you describe or estimate future prospects?
- What obligations does your work place upon you, outside of the ordinary work week? Do you enjoy these obligations?
- How much flexibility do you have in terms of dress, hours of work, vacation schedule, place of residence, etc.?
Advice To Me:
- How well suited is my background for this type of work?
- What educational preparation do you feel would be best?
- What kinds of experiences, paid employment or otherwise, would you most strongly recommend?
- If you were a college graduate again, had it to do all over again, what would you do differently?
If you were to hire someone to work with you today, which of the following factors would be most important in your hiring decision and why?
- Educational credentials
- Past work experience
- Personality, personal attributes
- Specific skills, talents
- 5Applicant's knowledge of your organization, your department, your job
Referral To Others:
- Based on our conversation today, what other people do you believe I should talk to?
- Can you name a few of these people who might be willing to see me? May I have permission to use your name when I call or contact them?
- How do people find out about these jobs? Are they advertised in the newspapers (which one?), by word-of-mouth (who spreads the word?), by the Personnel Office?
- What kinds of job-related values are sought in this type of work? (Security, high income, fringe benefits, vacation time). What form do these considerations take at your place of work? (e.g., what type of pension plan?)
- What type of employers hire people in your line of work? Where are they located? What types of industries are they in?
- How much do wages or salaries vary in your work by employer, region, or industry?
- Do many people in your line of work accept positions abroad? Where? Why do they move? Are these positions (abroad) short-term or long-term?
- Are people in your line of work very mobile? Do they change jobs frequently?
- What are the most important forms of compensation in your work (E.g., bonuses, commissions, pensions, security, insurance)?
- Referral Request:Mr. Smith, I appreciate the time we spent together today, but very frankly, more than our time, I value our discussion of XYZ (some particular that you discussed).
What I'd like to be able to do at this point in time is to continue this process and talk to other people like yourself to get their perspective on how I might use my experience, my skills, my background (etc.) within their particular type of organization.
Now, Mr. Smith, when I talk with these people, I certainly don't expect them to have a position for me - I won't even expect them to know of one. but this type of meeting is very helpful to me. It allows me to obtain much sharper focus on my particular objectives - it allows me to understand industries better - (etc.)
Mr. Smith, who do you know someone that I can talk with to obtain additional information?
- Use types of positions mentioned as a referral means:Earlier in our discussion, Mr. Smith, you mentioned that you could see me holding X position within your firm. That type of position really interests me, and I'd like to obtain more detailed information (particulars, specifics) on it. Who heads that department within your firm? I'd like to sit down and chat with him - etc.
Handling "phone call for you" offers: (Mr. Smith offers to phone some people for me and get back to me)You know, Mr. Smith, I really appreciate your offer and if you could do that before I sit down and chat with them, I'd really be grateful. But before you make that call, I'd like to be able to sit down, compose a brief letter, and send it off with my resume so they will have some idea of what I'm doing and then follow up my letter with a phone call. now, I'll be calling these people in about 7 to 10 days, so if you could wait 3 or 4 days to call them yourself, I'd appreciate it. Now, Mr. Smith, who were you thinking of calling for me?
- No Direct "Referral Name" Type of Letter:Dear ,
I'm in the process of researching my career expansion plans. I was recently talking with several key people in(regarding) the (insurance, for example) industry who felt that you would be an excellent source of information in the field of .
Please understand, Mr. I do not expect you to have an appropriate opportunity for me or even know of one. However, because of your background and experience, I would appreciate your comments and any suggestions you might offer.
I'm very interested in the field of because (mention insights/information given in other interview and highlight your own skills briefly that would qualify you for that field).
I really know you have a busy schedule, and I will phone you on (Monday April 19) to arrange a brief meeting.
Very truly yours,
DO NOT ATTACH RESUME TO THIS LETTER BECAUSE IT SAYS "JOB"?
Take it with you to present during meeting: "As you can see from my resume, my objective etc. - give NOW.
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