When networking or conducting informational interviews, use open-ended questions to create an engaging conversation.

Be strategic and do not ask questions that are too personal. To prepare for these discussions, create a key list of questions that will allow you to navigate the conversation. Here are 15 questions to get you started.

What to ask in your informational interview

Tasks and Responsibilities

  • Please tell me about your work.
  • Describe a typical work day.
  • What aspect of your job do you find most challenging/rewarding?
  • Do you more often work individually or as part of a team?
  • Can you describe the typical work/life balance in this field?

Preparation for Career Path

  • What do you think is the best academic preparation for this profession?
  • How did you become interested in this field?
  • What are the qualifications you look for in a new hire?
  • What else should I know to make an informed decision about choosing a career in this field?
  • Is there anything you wished you knew before entering this field?
  • Do you have any recommendations for other people I should speak with in the field to learn more? May I use your name when reaching out to him or her?

Industry Knowledge

  • What industry publications would you recommend I read to help keep me informed of developments in this field?
  • Is the advice you have passed on to me regarding this sector typical of the industry, or is it specific to your organization?
  • Are there any professional associations that you are part of or suggest I join?
  • Where do you see this industry going in the next 5-10 years?