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Conduct an information interview

These one-on-one conversations are with someone who has a job you might like, works within an industry you might want to enter or is employed by a company you’re interested in.

If you have been lucky enough to secure yourself time with a professional, there are some key points to remember to ensure you gain maximum benefit from your meeting.

Research the organisation that they work for (you’ll appear clued up and interested) and prepare questions beforehand. If necessary, explain how you obtained their details. For face-to-face meetings, remember to dress appropriately.

Be prepared to take the lead in the conversation and take notes so that you remember the key points. And be respectful of the person’s time and be sure to thank them at the end. Ideally, you're trying to build a two-way relationship, so listen and learn about people carefully so that you can identify any help you can offer in return.

Example questions to ask

When you're taking part in an information interview, you could ask:

  • can you describe your typical day or week?
  • what kinds of problems do you deal with?
  • what do you find most and least interesting?
  • where are the opportunities advertised?
  • is there a typical career pattern for new professionals?
  • which parts of this field are expanding and likely to offer opportunities in the future?
  • what are the typical entry-level jobs?
  • what are the toughest challenges the profession is facing?
  • could you look over my work and offer suggestions?
  • can you suggest anyone I might be able to talk to?
  • are there any opportunities for work shadowing or work experience?

Find out more

Syracuse University has a short video on the dos and don’ts of information interviews.

If you'd like advice on conducting an information interview, please get in touch:

Careers and Employability