Information Interview

How to Conduct an Excellent Information Interview

So, you think you’ve nailed down what you want to do for your career. Where do you go next? Before sending out resume after resume, you want to make sure that you’ve started down the right path for you by delving deep within yourself. Finding out more about where you want to work is crucial to figuring out what’s best for you. To get a clear picture of what working at your potential company would be like from day to day, you need to conduct an information interview.

Get the Inside Scoop With an Information Interview

This type of interview is different than your typical meeting because, this time, you are actually the one asking the questions. When initiating an information interview, you start by contacting someone who works at your prospective company to see if they would be willing to answer some questions about what it’s like to work there. Their answers help to give you the clarity that you need to gauge their corporate culture, their office politics and just the day-to-day job in general.

Finding the right person to interview is one of the most important aspects of conducting this type of interview. You want someone who has been performing the same type of job that you would eventually like to have to give you the best idea of what you would be doing at the company. Other good qualifications to look for are their length of time spent with the company, their willingness to help and their overall personality. Choosing someone who is friendly and outgoing enough to give you all the necessary details without making it too personal will help make your interview what it should be.

Find Out the Necessary Information by Asking the Right Questions

You can’t hold a great interview without being properly prepared with well-written questions. Taking a notebook into the meeting with a pen to keep track of things that are said and to remind you of things you wanted to ask is always a good idea. Some sample ideas to get you started include:

  • What is a typical day in the office like?
  • What are your main duties? Problems that you face often?

  • How did you get started in this particular line of work?

  • Were there any specific instances that or jobs that led you to the position that you’re in today?

    • What is your favorite part of your job?
    • What is the most challenging part of your job?
  • What are some of the most helpful things that you did before you entered this position?

  • Why did you decide to come work for this company? What do you like most about it?

  • Why do you think customers choose this company above its competitors?

  • After working here for a while, do you still find your job exciting? Why?

  • Do you feel that this company has potential to grow and develop?

  • Does this company give its employees the opportunity to better themselves through additional trainings or schooling?

  • Does this company utilize technology to further its growth?

  • What have been some of the things that you’ve done in your career to help you advance?

  • Do you think that there is a certain way that is better to get your foot in the door of this company?

  • What do you consider the most important skills for a position in this field?

  • Describe the average workplace atmosphere and temperament.

  • Is there a general longevity to this job? This company?

  • Do you feel that your college education benefited you in your current position?

  • Based on what you know about me and my qualifications, what would you suggest that I do in order to obtain a position here? What necessary preparations should I be making?

  • If you have time, would you mind taking a look at my resume?

    While these are just a small sampling of the questions that you could ask during your information interview, it’s important that you ask that ones that would be most applicable to you and your situation. Once the meeting has concluded, thank the person profusely for taking time out of his or her busy schedule to answer questions about their job and, of course, don’t forget to send a thank you note after. Going through an information interview is the best possible scenario when looking to glean information about a potential career choice. Use these tips and questions to make sure that yours goes as smoothly as possible.

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