Information Gathering Interview
A wealth of information can be obtained from speaking with people who are currently in careers
of jobs that you might be interested in. The informational interview allows you to investigate the
diversity of specialties in any given career and offers an opportunity to network.
Why Do an Information Gathering Interview?
Conducting an information gathering interview has several benefits:
1. Valuable information for your job hunt
2. Valuable information for career planning
3. Up to date and specific information
4. Get a personal look at what the job’s like and a feel for the job’s atmosphere
5. Gain confidence and become comfortable with taking assertive control
-- this will be useful later in your job hunting and interviewing
6. Networking: enlarges your circle of contacts which may lead to referrals
7. Establish the first link to your job targets
Friends, family, colleagues Yellow Pages
Faculty Employment directories
Academic advisors Anyone who deals with people constantly
Counsellors (Bankers, lawyers, politicians, ect.)
Employment centres Anyone who’s work involves contacts
Community service agencies (sales people, stockbrokers, real estate
Trade organizations agents, ect.)
Professional organizations and
Script for Requesting an Interview (adapt to fit your own profile)
Hello, my name is ______ and I am a fourth year _______ major at Saint Mary’s University. As
part of my career planning efforts, I have been researching occupations of interest and I am most
interested in exploring work as a ________. I got your name from _______. I would be grateful
if you would be willing to set up a meeting with me to talk about the work that you do. What
would be a good day and time for you to meet with me?
Assure the person that you won't take up more than 20 to 30 minutes of his/her time. Stress that
you are not inquiring about a job, but rather are researching a position or industry.
Tips for a Successful Informational Interview
Get a personal referral if possible. Have a mutual acquaintance be the bridge for your
Walk in or phone call contacts are the next best routes for making contact
Write a letter requesting an interview. Explain who you are and why you want to set up a
meeting. Writing a letter before phoning to set up a meeting increases the chances that
the individual will agree to be interviewed.
Explain that you are seeking information as part of your career exploration process, and
that you would like to ask a few questions
Be early for the interview
Dress as if you were going for a job interview
Have a resume available. Sometimes an informational interview can lead to employment,
although this is not the purpose of the interview, therefore it is a good idea to have your
resume on hand should it be requested
Know what kind of information you are seeking, ask questions about information that is
not readily available
Know your own interests, skills, and values and how they relate to the person you’re
After the Interview
Always follow-up the interview with a thank you note. In it you might want to reiterate
information that you found particularly interesting or helpful. It may be useful to include your
resume with your thank you note if it was not requested during the interview
Keep a notebook, binder, or file of all your contracts/interviews. Include: interviewers name,
title, address, date, and place of meeting, notes on the interview, actions planned as a result,
referrals given, and copies of correspondence.
The questions that you ask should be those that relate to your values, interests, and skills
previously identified. The list below is not exhaustive; please add your own. Select those 10-12
questions that most need answering. Try not to overwhelm your contact person.
What are the activities and responsibilities connected with your job? Could you describe
your job routine for a typical day or week?
What training, skills and/or education does your job/occupation require? Do the training
requirements vary from one employer to another?
What classes, projects, volunteer or work experiences would you suggest a student seek
who is interested in this field?
What is the most valuable thing you learned in university/college related to this career?
How did you get your first job?
Knowing what you know now, would you follow the same path again? Why or why not?
What do you find is the most/least rewarding about you job?
What would you look for if you were interviewing someone for your job?
What is the usual pattern of job progression for people in your occupation?
What other jobs or career paths could someone with your educational background
Are there opportunities for further education and/or professional development with this
Would you advise people to enter this career area? Why or why not?
What is the job outlook in this career area?
How competitive is entry into your field?
What advice would you give someone considering this occupation or field?
If someone were interested in this field, how would you suggest they get more
information to help them determine whether they would enjoy this work?
Is there anyone else you might suggest speaking to about this career?
Remember to always thank them at the end of the appointment
4 Floor, Student Centre