Be sure to dress appropriately; if you have questions about the standard dress for the occupation, feel free to ask when you arrange the interview. Arrive early and don’t forget your list of questions. During the interview, listen carefully; the interviewee may answer one of the questions you had planned to ask later on. Observe the work environment, the people who work there, and their daily routine. Every organization has its own culture. See what you can infer about the culture of this organization from what you see. Feel free to take notes and ask for a business card before you leave.
Questions to Ask
The topics listed below contain questions you may ask when conducting an informational interview:
How did you get started in this field? Is that typical of most people?
Describe a typical week. Would these duties be the same for anyone with your job title?
What skills and personal qualities are most important for success in this job?
How would you describe the professional climate in your office? In your industry?
What portions of your job involve interaction with coworkers, clients, or vendors?
How much evening, weekend or overtime work is required? What about traveling?
What are the greatest rewards of your work?
What are the greatest frustrations? How do you deal with them?
On what basis are professionals in your field evaluated? How is success measured?
What is the starting salary range for new professionals in this field? (do not ask for their salary)
What are the opportunities for advancement in this field? Could you describe a typical promotion path?
What are some growth areas in this field and what impact is that likely to have on job opportunities?
How is this field likely to be affected by changes in technology?
What kinds of education or specialized training would best prepare me to do this kind of work?
What classes can I take or projects can I complete that will also be helpful?
Are there any professional organizations that would help me to build my network in this field?
How do people find out about job openings in your line of work?
Where do people in this field typically look for internship and job opportunities?
Can you recommend other people for me to talk to?
Who makes the decision to hire someone for this kind of job?
Outside of knowledge obtained in their degree, what skills and competencies do interns and full time hires possess?