How Do You Arrange an Information Interview?

Contact organizations that employ people with career interests similar to yours. If you are unaware of agencies, organizations, or companies that employ people who are doing jobs that interest you, resources like Voyager alumni search and using the internet will help you identify specific places to contact. Lawrence alumni often are very willing to participate in an information interview. Basically, there are four ways of making contacts:

  1. Telephoning
  2. Writing an e-mail/letter
  3. Dropping by without an appointment
  4. By referral - Either have someone who knows the contact make the appointment for you or mention that "_________ suggested that I contact you to see whether you would speak to me."

Whichever means of contacting you choose, make sure that you explain the purpose of requesting an interview. Remember, it is for information as you investigate a particular field. Emphasize that YOU ARE NOT LOOKING FOR A JOB! You only want information. You are interested in that field. Indicate that you would like to speak for approximately 20 or 30 minutes with a person in the area of particular interest to you. Don't be surprised if the interview lasts an hour. People like to be helpful and enjoy talking about themselves. Allow at least one hour between interviews. Frequently, they last longer than you expect and travel time must be figured.

What questions should you ask?

Since you are interviewing for information only, use this opportunity to learn as much as you can about particular occupations. You may want to ask, modify, or add to the following questions:

  • What do you do on a typical day?
  • What skills do you use most often?
  • What is most satisfying about your work?
  • What are the biggest frustrations?
  • What made you decide upon this career? Is the career as you expected? How does it differ?
  • What courses, training, and experience have been most helpful to you in your present work? What do you feel is the best preparation for this kind of work?
  • How does your work combine with your personal life?
  • How much flexibility do you have in terms of dress, hours of work, vacation schedule, place of residence, etc.?
  • How well suited is my background for this type of work?
  • Is there an opportunity to obtain a summer job or internship in this field? Where?
  • Where would you suggest that I look for job vacancies in this field?
  • What job titles should I be looking for?
  • What is the salary range for entry-level positions?
  • In what ways does this position require the use of specific skills?
  • What types of training do organizations give to persons entering this field?
  • What special advice would you give to a young person entering this field?
  • Is there a demand for people in this field?
  • Do you view this field as a growing one?
  • Can you recommend others I should contact regarding this type of work? May I use your name when contacting them?

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