By Amber Alarid, JVA Consulting
Informational interviews give job seekers, or those considering a career move, the chance to ask their questions of leaders in the field. For young professionals, informational interviews can be as influential to your career as other professional development and networking opportunities. These interviews are a time to explore various career paths with the guidance of experienced professionals in the position you one day hope to assume.
When preparing for an informational interview, it is best to identify professionals who hold a job you are interested in now, or may be interested in down the line when you have more experience, and that you have some sort of connection to. Ask for help from your alumni association, career services office and personal network to gain introductions to these individuals if you do not already know someone. Make contact with the person, asking to meet somewhere convenient for them. Be clear about what you would like to talk about, why you want to interview that person and how much of his or her time you will take up.
Go to the interview prepared with a list of key questions you would like answered. The best questions are open-ended and lead the interviewee to tell you more about what the job actually entails. Following are sample questions that can help inform or create your own questions; be sure to adapt the questions for each interview you conduct.
- What advice would you offer a young professional aspiring to be in your shoes?
- What steps can I take now to advance my career and someday hold a similar job?
- How did you get to where you are today? What are some of the milestones in your career thus far?
- On a day-to-day basis, what does your job entail?