Mastering the Informational Interview: 15 Game-Changing Questions to Ask

Are you considering a career change or exploring a new field? Informational interviews can be a powerful tool to gain invaluable insights and make informed decisions about your professional path. By speaking directly with professionals in your desired industry or role, you can acquire first-hand knowledge, understand the daily realities, and assess whether the opportunity aligns with your goals and aspirations.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll provide you with 15 game-changing questions to ask during an informational interview, empowering you to gather the information you need to make the best career choices.

The Power of Informational Interviews

Informational interviews offer a unique opportunity to gain insider knowledge and perspective from seasoned professionals. Unlike formal job interviews, where the focus is on evaluating your fit for a specific role, informational interviews allow you to take the lead and dive deep into the intricacies of a particular career path or industry.

By asking thoughtful and well-crafted questions, you can:

  • Understand the day-to-day responsibilities and challenges of a role
  • Gain insights into the skills and qualifications required for success
  • Learn about the company culture and work environment
  • Explore potential career paths and advancement opportunities
  • Obtain advice and guidance from experienced professionals
  • Expand your professional network and make valuable connections

15 Game-Changing Questions to Ask During an Informational Interview

  1. What inspired you to pursue this career path, and how did you get started?
    Understanding the motivations and journey of your interviewee can provide valuable context and help you assess whether your own interests and goals align with the realities of the role.

  2. Can you walk me through a typical day or week in your current position?
    This question allows you to gain a comprehensive understanding of the day-to-day responsibilities, tasks, and challenges associated with the role, helping you determine if the work aligns with your preferences and strengths.

  3. What are the most rewarding and challenging aspects of your job?
    Knowing the highs and lows of a particular role can help you gauge whether the rewards outweigh the challenges and if you are prepared to tackle the demands of the position.

  4. What skills, qualifications, or experiences are most valued in your field?
    By understanding the key requirements and sought-after attributes, you can assess your current skillset and identify areas for professional development or additional training.

  5. How has your industry/field evolved over the past few years, and what changes do you anticipate in the future?
    Staying ahead of industry trends and developments is crucial for long-term career success. This question can provide insights into the dynamic nature of the field and help you prepare for potential shifts or opportunities.

  6. What advice would you give to someone starting out in this field?
    Seeking guidance from experienced professionals can be invaluable. Their advice can help you avoid common pitfalls, develop a strategic mindset, and better navigate the early stages of your career journey.

  7. Can you describe the company culture and work environment?
    Understanding the organizational culture and work atmosphere is essential for determining if you will thrive in a particular setting. This question can shed light on factors such as work-life balance, collaboration, and professional development opportunities.

  8. What are the typical entry-level roles and career progression paths in this field?
    Gaining insights into the common entry points and potential career trajectories can help you develop a roadmap for your professional growth and set realistic expectations for advancement opportunities.

  9. What professional organizations or networking groups would you recommend joining?
    Building a strong professional network and staying connected with industry trends and developments can be invaluable. Joining relevant organizations or groups can provide access to valuable resources, networking opportunities, and ongoing professional development.

  10. Can you share any challenges or obstacles you faced in your career and how you overcame them?
    Learning from the experiences and resilience of others can provide valuable lessons and strategies for navigating potential hurdles or setbacks in your own career journey.

  11. What is the typical work-life balance in your role/industry?
    Understanding the expectations and demands of a particular role or industry can help you assess whether the work-life balance aligns with your personal and professional priorities.

  12. What do you wish you had known before entering this field?
    Gaining insights from someone with firsthand experience can help you better prepare and avoid common pitfalls or misconceptions about a particular career path.

  13. What resources or tools do you find most valuable for staying up-to-date in your field?
    Identifying reliable sources of information, professional development opportunities, and industry-specific resources can help you stay informed and continuously enhance your knowledge and skills.

  14. Is there any advice or suggestions you would give to someone considering this career path?
    Seeking guidance from experienced professionals can provide invaluable perspectives and insights that may not be readily available elsewhere, helping you make more informed decisions about your career journey.

  15. Can you recommend any other professionals or contacts I should connect with to learn more about this field?
    Building a strong professional network can open doors to new opportunities, mentorship, and valuable connections. Asking for recommendations can help you expand your network and gain additional insights from other industry experts.

Remember, informational interviews are a two-way street. While you are seeking valuable information and insights, also be prepared to share your own background, interests, and career aspirations. Approach the conversation with respect, professionalism, and genuine curiosity.

By asking thoughtful and targeted questions, you can gain a comprehensive understanding of a particular career path or industry, positioning yourself to make well-informed decisions about your professional future.

Informational Interviews: Best Questions to Ask


How many questions should you ask in an informational interview?

Because most informational interviews last 30 minutes, you won’t have time to ask all of the questions. Choose 5-7 questions that are most important to you. First it is helpful to build a rapport with your contact person and find out more about his/her background.

What question should you not ask during an informational interview group of answer choices?

Two questions you should never ask in an information interview: Avoid asking if the employer or company is hiring right now. Avoid asking any questions you could have easily answered for yourself with a bit of research.

How many questions are usually asked in a 30 minute interview?

I typically prepare around 7-10 interview questions for a 30-minute meeting, leaving some time for follow-ups as well as to see if the candidate has any questions I could answer or concerns I could address.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *