I. Why do an informational interview?
- To find out more about a field you are considering.
- To make contacts in that field, possibly find mentors.
- To hear about unadvertised or soon-to-open positions.
- To learn about organizations prior to applying for a job or internship.
- To know how to best market yourself for a given position.
II. How to find people you want to interview:
- Ask faculty, friends, family, coworkers if they know anyone in your field of interest.
- Look in the Alumni Career Educator (ACE) files located in Career Development. These are Evergreen alumni who have volunteered to talk about their work. They may also be able to refer you to their colleagues.
- Contact professional associations affiliated with your field. You can look them up in the Encyclopedia of Associations which is available in Evergreen's Main Library.
- Look in the phone book.
- Keep an eye on the newspaper or journals/magazines and follow up with folks who are writing articles or being written about.
III. How to request an interview:
- Call and set up a convenient meeting time; typically you'll ask for about 20 minutes. Make sure it is clear that you are only seeking information at this point, not asking for a job.
- Or, you may wish to write a letter first and follow up with a phone call.
IV. The kinds of questions you might ask:
This is just a sampling of questions that are appropriate to all fields. You may also want to ask some that are specific to your line of work.
- How did you become interested and involved in your line of work?
- How would you describe a typical work day?
- What are your usual hours/work days?
- What special abilities and aptitudes are required for your work?
- How would you describe your working environment? What are the stresses you encounter?
- What kind of physical demands are required in this work?
- What are your work responsibilities?
- If you could change your job in any way, what would it be?
- What do you most like/dislike about your work?
- What degree of independence and freedom do you have in your work? Is this typical of this field or job?
- What opportunities exist for the expression of creativity in your job?
- Other than your education or training experience, what did you find most helpful in getting your job?
- What is the future job outlook in your field?
- What are the present opportunities for advancement?
- How would you rate your level of prestige and status in your work? How do most people respond when you tell them what you do?
- In your opinion, what are the advantages and disadvantages of this occupation?
- What is the salary for this type of position? Starting? Average? Top?
- Is there anything else concerning your occupation that a person should know?
- What are the things about your job that give you a sense of satisfaction/dissatisfaction?
- What previous work experiences prepared you for this job?
- What aspects of this kind of work are not covered in the job description? What surprised you about it?
- What advice would you give to someone planning to enter this field?
- Can you recommend other people that I could speak with about this line of work?
V: Keeping notes/Questions you will want to ask yourself:
B. The date of your meeting.
C. Notes about some specific information you covered/learned including what do I know, like or dislike about:
- The environment (work setting itself, the city, part of town...)
- The kinds of people here
- The purposes, goals and values represented here
- The level of responsibility this person seems to have
- The problems here that I can solve with my skills and knowledge
- How to prepare for or pursue work in this field
VI: Send a Thank You Letter!
Please contact a counselor in Career Development (867- 6193) if you have any questions about this process.