The key to a successful informational interview is to ask insightful questions. An informational interview isn’t an interview for a specific role — the purpose is to learn more about that particular industry. Don’t get there just to have awkward silences and struggle to think of things to say. Be on your A-game so that your informational interview is as beneficial as possible. Prepare in advance by doing your due diligence. Look at their LinkedIn and other sites to come up with questions that you couldn’t find out from simply doing a quick Google search.
Here are some insightful questions to consider asking in an informational interview:
- I know you’ve spent [x years in the industry]. How did you end up at [x company]?
- What is your favorite and least favorite thing about working at [x company]?
- How did you get your job? What was the hiring process like?
- What is the company culture like here?
- What are your responsibilities as [x role]?
- What is a "typical" workday like for you?
- What is your favorite and least favorite job responsibility?
- You previously worked at [y company]. How did you decide to move to [x company]?
- What do you like most and least about working in [x industry]?
- In your opinion, what are the most important characteristics someone needs to have to be successful in your role?
- What do you recommend I do to make myself a great candidate for a role in [x industry]?
- Is there something you wish you’d known or a skill you wish you’d had when you started out in [x industry]? Is there something you wish you had done differently?
- What is your best advice as I try to [break into the industry, get my next role in the industry etc.]?
- Would you mind taking a look at my resume?
- Is there anyone else you think I should talk to in the industry?
- Do you have any other advice for me?
Asking informed, intelligent, insightful questions will help you make a great first impression!
Elana Lyn is a career advice and lifestyle blog with more than 50,000 views per month that covers everything from how to ask for a raise to the best workout classes to take in NYC. Almost 100 women from a wide range of industries have been interviewed in the Career Profile series. The blog has been featured in TIME, Fast Company, Business Insider, Mashable, Refinery 29, The Huffington Post, Brit + Co., Alley Watch, Ivanka Trump, and more. This article originally appeared here on Elana's website.