13 Questions To Ask In An Informational Interview
by Shahnawaz Alam Job & Career 26 October 2023
Before you start pursuing a job role or a career, it is important to gather the necessary information about it. You do have Google to answer you with some specific information. But, unless you are not taking it from someone already involved in the role, you are missing out on some important information.
If you want to learn about a specific job role, then informational interviews are the best way to do so. These interviews will help you get first-hand knowledge about that job or industry.
Whether it is a job or a business you want to start, you will have more detailed information regarding that role at hand after the interview. Thanks to this interview, you will make a more informed decision.
So, what are informational interviews? What questions to ask in an informational interview? Read this article for the answer to all of your queries.
What Is An Informational Interview?
An informational interview includes an individual looking for a job and a seasoned professional in a specific industry. These informational interviews aim to help the job seeker learn about the real-life experience of working in that industry/field/company.
These informational interviews can be done in the form of informational meetings, over coffee chat, or through networking. Typically, these interviews are 15 to 30 minutes long. These interviews are low-pressure interviews. However, novice professionals can learn a great deal from these interviews.
Best Questions To Ask In An Informational Interview
Here are some of the best questions you can ask during interviews such as this. So, ready your interviewing skills and list down these questions.
1. Why Did You Choose To Work In This Industry?
Your interviewee might have the same professional vision and aspiration for the job role as you do. You can ask this question to confirm their vision and understand if it aligns with yours.
2. Can You Tell Me What Led Up To You Getting Your Current Position?
If your interviewee has already spent their professional life working elsewhere for any role, you can start by asking them just that. Especially if it is an informational interview, you must ask this question. Your interviewee will possibly reveal what experience and lessons they bring from their past role.
3. What Are Some Most Important Steps Needed To Get To The Position You Are In?
If you want to list some questions to ask in an informational interview, then note this one down. The person interviewing you can reveal actionable milestones and steps you need to fulfill to get to that position. However, situations can be different from person to person. Also, professionals may need to take a range of steps to reach where they aim.
4. What Accomplishments Set You Apart In The Industry?
This interview question makes the interviewees come up with a more personalized answer. The answer can also be unreported in their resume. If you are an interviewee, coming up with an answer will help set you apart from other applicants.
5. Did You Have Any Professional Experience Outside This Industry That Also Helped You Excel In Your Position?
There is no better way to learn about the professional history of an employee than by asking this question. The answer the interviewee may come up with can help the interviewer understand their common skills that translate across industries.
6. What New Skills Have You Developed As A Professional Since Taking This Role?
Did the professional change their role and their career path? A good way to know the answer to this is by asking the question above. If they changed their career and went on to do something different, the interviewer will have an answer.
7. Was Your Undergraduate Major Relevant To The Current Position You Are In?
This is a good question to ask when you are curious how the interviewer landed on their current job role. As an interviewee, you will learn a great deal about whether a specific postsecondary education is mandatory for the role or not. Furthermore, you can also ask about any pertinent courses to prepare yourself for the profession.
8. Which Certificates Are Necessary To Help You Stand Out In This Role?
Of course, there is information available out there. But the more you research, the more you learn. More so, a professional has hands-on experience regarding what works and what doesn’t. They can help with identifying the most important courses that will set you apart from the competition.
9. Can You Tell Me About Your Experience To Work For (Or Run) Your Company?
This is among the best questions to ask in an informational interview with the hiring manager. The interviewer might be a hiring manager or an individual contributor to the business owner. You can learn a deal from them by asking a question like this. It also helps them understand what your chosen career path is.
10. What Types Of Decisions Do You Have To Make In Your Current Role?
If you are interviewing someone who runs their own business, you can ask them a question like this. Every administrative role, irrespective of the industry, entails certain decision-making responsibilities. Your interviewee might have some decision-making processes unique to their roles and responsibilities.
11. Can You Describe A Few Things About Your Company Culture?
If you are looking for questions to ask in an informational interview, then try this. If you are an interviewee and willing to learn a few things about your potential employer, then you can ask this question. Your interviewer might reveal a few important things about their company culture, their leadership styles, and ways they manage conflict.
12. What Do You Enjoy Most About Your Role?
This is a fun way of getting to know more about your interviewee. This question will help you learn more about the operations your interviewee is involved in. They can fill you in on what they do regularly and what they enjoy doing the most.
13. What Surprised You The Most About Your Current Position And Industry?
The answers to some questions do not come from the answer-specific questions. But, you will be amazed to know the wonders asking a question like this can do. It is one of the best questions to ask in an informational interview.
You will learn more about the industry you are interested in, and the informational interview will also help you build industry connections and practice your interview skills. You might also be on top of your interviewee’s mind when a future opportunity comes in their industry.
So, if you are thinking of an informational interview, you can list down all of these questions and answers. Hopefully, you have found the solution to your queries. For further queries, reach out to us through the comment section.