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Careers_

Information interviewing

Learn about jobs and industries directly from the experts

Talk to the people who do the kind of jobs that appeal to you to get an insider’s perspective.

The purpose of an information interview is to talk to an individual working in an occupation or career area you are interested in and would like to learn more about. They can be conducted in person or on the telephone.

In an information interview, the purpose is to obtain information, not to get a job.

What are the benefits of information interviews?

  • Receive first-hand, current knowledge of an occupation from industry professionals.
  • Find out how specific companies or organisations operate and what they look for in an employee.    
  • Build confidence in speaking with employers and practice your interviewing and meeting skills.
  • Make valuable industry contacts and expand your professional network.

Identifying contacts and organising the interview

Start with your personal networks and find out if your tutors, colleagues, friends or family know anyone in your field of interest. You can also look at the websites of professional associations, LinkedIn, Chambers of Commerce, or the websites of companies that interest you. Look for people who are a few years ahead of you in their career progression.

You can contact your potential interviewee via email or phone. Let them know who referred you to them or briefly explain how you obtained their details. Be very clear about the purpose of your call/email and emphasise that you are only asking for information and advice.

Prepare for the meeting by researching the organisation and the person you’ll be speaking with. The more you know, the better you’ll be able to prepare relevant questions.  

Questions to ask

Prepare a list of questions in advance. These should be well thought out, open-ended questions based on the information you are hoping to gain. Some examples include:

  • How did you get into this career?
  • What skills and qualities do you need to be successful in this field?
  • What are the best and worst aspects of your work?
  • What is the workplace culture like in your company?
  • What would be involved in a typical day?
  • What advice would you have for a new graduate wishing to enter this industry?
  • What are the typical entry-level jobs in this field?
  • Is there a particular type of experience I should gain while studying?
  • What do you wish you had known when you were a student or new graduate?
  • (If appropriate) Could we keep in touch/connect on LinkedIn?

After the interview

It is good practice to send a thank you email after the interview has taken place, ideally the same day as the interview. Record any useful information you received and follow up promptly if your interviewee has suggested any further action such as contacting one of their colleagues or sending a copy of your resume. It may also be appropriate to contact them when you have found a job and thank them for their assistance.