Information Interview

Conducting an information interview, meeting face-to-face with a worker, will give you high-quality information about a career. The job comes alive. And, you are able to ask specific questions, to probe in depth. It is also an effective strategy to Learn about College Majors or Training Programs.

Information interviewing can be organized into eight steps:

  1. Learn as much as you can about the job in the Occupational Outlook Handbook.
  2. Develop a list of people you might contact with the help of family and friends. These are people who have first-hand knowledge of the job, or people who can give you the names of people who do know about it.
  3. Send a short, personal letter or email to the person you choose (a) telling them what you want to learn, (b) requesting an appointment, and (c) indicating that you will call to set up a meeting time.
  4. Make the call to set up the appointment.
  5. Prepare for your meeting by clarifying in your mind what you want to learn. Write down a list of information interview questions you want to ask.
  6. Conduct the interview -- arrive on time, dress appropriately, ask open-ended questions, listen carefully, make brief notes, do not overstay your visit and, at the end, ask for the names of others you might contact for more information.
  7. Write a brief thank you note, mentioning something from your visit.
  8. Review what you learned. For example, do you need more information? How does this job fit you?