Sample Informational Interview Questions

Informational interviews are a crucial and often overlooked aspect of networking. They are the best ways to find out about a type of occupation and make a contact. Informational interviews are person-to-person conversations that help you gain information, insight, and advice from people who are in the functional areas, industries, and companies that hold your interest.

Many people hesitate to contact others for fear of imposing or asking for help. This is where the Alumni Career Network can be a benefit. The network is comprised of Case alumni from a wide variety of professions who have volunteered to share their knowledge and experience and who will welcome hearing from you.

The following is a list of sample questions you can ask during an informational interview:

Searching for Positions in the Field

  • What sort of company would be most interested in my skills and experience?
  • How do people find out about available positions? Are they advertised on web sites? If so, which ones? Are they advertised by word-of-mouth or by the Human Resource department?
  • Do you think I should pursue a bigger vs. smaller company; a start-up vs. a more established company; or a mature vs. rapid growth/entrepreneurial company?
  • If you were to hire someone to work with you today, which of the following factors would be most important in your hiring decision and why? Educational credentials, past work experience, specific skills and talents, the applicant's knowledge of your organization, your department, your job, etc.
Networking in the Field

  • Based on our conversation today, can you suggest other people who may be able to provide additional information or perspectives to me?
  • May I have permission to use your name when I contact them?
  • Can you suggest other related fields?
  • Have you heard of any events or developments that suggest a particular company might have a need for someone like me?
Asking about a Target Company

  • What is the size of the organization/geographic locations?
  • What is the organizational structure?
  • How would you describe the work climate?
  • What is the average length of time employees stay with the organization?
  • What types of formal or on-the-job training does the organization provide?
  • How often are performance reviews given?
  • What are the arrangements for transferring from one division to another?
  • Is the company planning to expand, maintain or downsize?
  • How does it compare with its competitors?
  • What new product lines/services are being developed?

This sample introductory letter can be emailed or sent to a prospective contact.