Informational Interviews

Conducting an informational interview is a great way to gather information about a career or industry by speaking with professionals working in that area.  An informational interview is an interview in which you initiate, plan and ask the questions. The purpose is to obtain information, not to get a job.

Reasons to Conduct Informational Interviews

  • Explore careers and clarify your career goal
  • Expand your professional network
  • Build your confidence in interviewing
  • Gain an insider’s perspective to that career or industry

How to Conduct an Informational Interview

  1. Identify the career or industry you wish to learn about.
  2. Prepare for the interview by compiling a list of questions that you would like to have answered.
  3. Identify people to interview.
    • Reflect on your personal, professional, and academic network.
    • Utilize LinkedIn to search for and connect with CSUF alumni.  
  4. Contact the person to set up an interview by phone, email, or having someone who knows the person connect you.
  5. Conduct the interview.  
    • Dress appropriately (at least business casual), arrive on time, be polite and professional.
    • Refer to your list of prepared questions; stay on track, but allow for spontaneous discussion.
    • Before leaving, ask your contact to suggest names of at least two others who might be helpful to you and ask permission to use your contact's name when contacting these new individuals.
  6. Follow up after the interview and send a thank-you note within one week of the meeting.

Sample Questions to Ask

  1. On a typical day in this position, what do you do?
  2. What education, skills, and experience are required for this type of work?
  3. What part of this job do you find most satisfying? Most challenging?
  4. What is your career path and educational background?
  5. How do you see jobs in this field changing in the future?
  6. What special advice would you give a person entering this field?