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- Graduate School Prep
- Internship Prep
- Job & Internship Search
- Testing (ACT, CLEP)
Services for Students and Alumni:
Career Services Center261 Schwartz Center
Job Postings & Employers
KSU Student Employment
HoursMonday - Friday
8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Call for an Appointment
Drop-In Career CounselingMonday - Friday
11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. & 2 - 4 p.m.
The Basics of Informational Interviewing
What is an informational interview?
An informational interview is NOT a job interview, it is a meeting with a contact who can help you find out more about a particular career or organization, and can increase your exposure to jobs that are not publicly advertised.
Informational interviewing can help you build confidence, expand your network of contacts, uncover career paths you did not know existed, and find out if a particular career matches your own interests, skills and goals.
Who do I interview?
You should interview people working in the field you are interested in. Find a person to interview by utilizing your own network of contacts, the KSU Alumni Association, or visit with a career counselor to help you locate someone in your field of interest.
How should I conduct the interview?
Set up a date, time and location for the interview, preferably at the individual's place of employment. Treat your interview as a formal business meeting. Be on time and dress professionally. Research the organization in advance and create a list of questions to ask during the interview.
How should I follow up after the interview?
Send a thank you note within 24-48 hours after the interview. Make sure you report back to that person on anything you pursue as a result of the interview. Stay organized with a record of contact names, phone numbers, email addresses, titles, company names, notes, and any referrals you received from that person.
Reflect on what you've learned and stay in touch with this person if you are seriously considering this occupation.
Informational Interview Questions
» Qualifications, Skills and Abilities
- What degree is required or recommended for entry into this occupation?
- What entry-level jobs qualify a person for a career in this occupation?
- Are there internships available in your field?
- What type of training does your organization provide new staff?
- What skills are needed for success in this occupation?
- What role does GPA play in obtaining a job in this occupation?
- What other types of credentials or licenses are required?
- What advice would you give someone entering this occupation?
- What is the best way to prepare for a career in this occupation?
- Could you suggest anyone else in your field that I could speak with for additional information? May I mention your name when I contact this person?
- I have a list of organizations I have researched that sound interesting. Are you familiar with them or know anyone who works for these organizations?
- May I contact you again if I have additional questions?
- What professional organizations would you recommend joining?
- What other resources should I be aware of? (local and national associations? job posting sites? directories? books/articles?)
» The Position
- What are the duties/responsibilities of your job?
- What is your typical day like?
- What kinds of challenges do you deal with?
- What kinds of decisions do you make?
- What aspects of your occupation do you enjoy? Dislike?
- What are the salary ranges for various positions in your field?
- Do you have a job description that you would be willing to share with me?
» Organization Information
- Why did you decide to work for this organization?
- How does your organization differ from its competitors?
- Why do customers choose this organization?
- Does the organization encourage employees to pursue graduate degrees? Are tuition benefits available?
- What does the organization do to contribute to employee development?
- Is there flexibility related to dress, work hours, vacation schedule, etc.?
- How would you describe your work atmosphere and people you work with?
» Advancement and Transferable Skills
- Are there other areas of this occupation people transfer into or out of?
- What are some of the opportunities for advancement in this occupation?
» Background and Experiences of Interviewee
- Why did this type of work interest you?
- How long have you worked in the field?
- How did you get your first job?
- What jobs and experiences have led you to your present position?
- What are the current trends in your occupation?
- Is there currently a demand for people in this occupation?
- How is the economy affecting your job or industry?
- Would I have to relocate to secure employment?
- How do you see the jobs in your field changing over the next five years? What can I do to prepare myself for these changes?