Interview questions and structured interviewing
Username: Password:

Information Interviews

Univ. of Waterloo

The goal of the information interview is to collect information that will allow you to make informed career decisions.
Do not take the chance of embarrassing yourself or upsetting a potential employer by using the information interview to ask for a job or set up an employment interview.

One of the most effective methods of obtaining more detailed information about a particular career is to conduct an information interview with someone who holds a position that interests you. Information interviews are beneficial because they allow you to:

Explore careers and clarify your career goal
Expand your professional network
Build confidence for your job interviews
Access the most up-to-date career information
Identify your professional strengths and weaknesses
See the organization from the inside
It is very important to prepare for an information interview well in advance. If you are going to use this process, it is critical that you have completed the self-assessment material in Step 1 of the Manual. The better you know yourself, the more professional you will appear in the information interview and the more likely you will be able to pursue a career that is both enjoyable and rewarding.

The information research process explained previously can provide you with a list of organizations that interest you. Add to this list people who you know including: professors, former employers, family and friends.

You may choose to use the Information Interview Form to record the information you gather from this learning process.

You have 3 choices for this exercise. Click on the text for your choice. You can:

View it as a normal Web page and print it.
Download it to your desktop as an Adobe Reader file (pdf). You can save it and print it.
Download it to your desktop as a Microsoft Word file. You can choose to work on it on your computer, save it and / or print it.
How To Set Up An Information Interview
Contact the organization that interests you. Ask for the name, job title and phone number of the person doing the work you wish to investigate.

Telephone the person you wish to interview well before the date the interview would take place. Introduce yourself and explain who you are (e.g., a student, a person thinking of changing jobs). Mention how you found the person's name. Although some individuals write e-mail or letters to do this, telephone contact yields increased results.

State the type of work you are interested in researching, the reason why, and the amount of time it would take to conduct the interview (usually 20 - 30 minutes). If the person is unable to meet with you, ask them if you can speak with them for five minutes on the phone. If they are still too busy, ask for a referral to someone else who does similar work.
Thank the person for speaking with you and confirm the date, time and location of the interview. If that person cannot see you, express your regret. State your appreciation for any referral names given to you.