Mastering the Art of Informational Interviews: Essential Questions You Should Be Asking


Informational interviews have become a crucial tool to gather information about a particular professional field, company, or job. By asking constructive and insightful questions, interviewees can not only probe the quintessential aspects of the job they aspire to step in but also show the interviewer their motivation and level of preparation. Therefore, getting equipped with the right set of questions is vital. In this informative piece, we aim to highlight various queries that should be part of your arsenal during an informational interview.

Defining Your Goals: The Pre-Interview Stage

Before diving into the ocean of an informational interview, one must clearly define the areas they wish to explore. A common blunder people commit is not being specific. Whether you aim to understand the dynamics of a specific role, the corporate culture, the skills needed to excel, or the scope of the industry, having clear objectives is the foundation of a productive interview.

Understanding the Interviewee’s Career Path

  1. Can you describe your career path and how you got to your current position?

    This question aims to understand the person’s journey, which could provide valuable insights into career progression in that field.

  2. What do you think differentiated you from others during your career progression?

    This query uncovers the unique factors or skills that can help an individual stand out in this particular sector.

  3. What were the most significant leaps or transitions in your career, and how did they impact your current role?

    This explores the defining moments in the interviewee’s career, providing an engaging narrative of their trajectory.

Uncovering the Realities of the Role and Industry

Job-Specific Questions

  1. What does your typical day look like?

    This question paints a practical picture of what to expect from the job and whether it aligns with the interviewee’s aspirations.

  2. Which aspects of your job do you find most rewarding, and which do you find most challenging?

    Knowing the rewarding and challenging aspects will help the potential aspirant gauge their suitability to the role.

  3. How has this role evolved over the years?

    The evolution of the job will give insights into how industry trends might shape it in the future.

Industry-Related Questions

  1. What are some emerging trends or challenges in your industry?

    Trends and challenges define the future dynamics of an industry. Keeping an eye on them is critical in today’s dynamic world.

  2. What skills do you think are crucial for succeeding in this industry?

    This information will be beneficial in shaping one’s career development plan.

  3. What are some potential growth areas in this industry?

    Keeping abreast of growth areas helps in positioning oneself for future opportunities in the sector.

Getting Insights About the Company Culture

Understanding the company’s culture is as crucial as knowing the job and industry specifics. After all, a harmonizing environment could be a significant determinant of job satisfaction.

  1. Can you describe the culture of your organization?

    The interviewees get a glimpse of the values, behavior, and beliefs that characterize the organization with this question.

  2. What sets your company apart from its competitors?

    This can identify prospective employers’ unique selling points, guiding the interviewee towards informed decisions when job hunting.

  3. How does your company promote employee growth and professional development?

    This question unveils the opportunities for career progression and development provided by the organization.

Wrapping Up

An informational interview could be your stepping stone into a rewarding professional journey. Therefore, arming yourself with insightful questions like the ones mentioned will not only help you make informed decisions but also display a level of earnestness that could be beneficial down the line.

Remember, each interaction is an opportunity for growth. And an informational interview is no different.

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