Question Ideas for Informational Interviews

When you arrive at your interview, or via electronics, be sure to thank them for their time and get their complete contact information. That way, if you get rushed at the end for any reason, you still have their information for future contact and to send a “thank you” note. Have your pen and paper ready, with your questions written down. Be sure to ask the following:

One – How did you get into this field? (Variation – What made you want to get into this field?)

By asking a question about the person you are interviewing and their interests, you are giving them a chance to speak about themselves. Also, it gives you the opportunity to identify common interests and find new ones.

Two – What do you like most about what you do?

Answers may surprise you. People choose to do things for a variety of reasons.

Three – What is missing in serving your field? (Variation – What kind of support do you need you can’t find?)

The purpose of this question is to think outside the box of the specific job or business the person is in. While you may love the idea of that exact position, you might be able to develop something that serves it well. Keeps you in a field you love, but in another function. Also may give you business ideas.

Four – What’s the biggest misconception about what you do?

This one is pretty self-explanatory, but you may suffer those same misconceptions. It’s an excellent way to get the real scoop.

Five – How do you get/find/keep customers or clients, and how much time do you spend on it?

This probably isn’t relevant for you unless you are planning a solopreneur operation.  One huge challenge for many entrepreneurs is dealing with the marketing and selling aspects of their chosen business. There’s nothing more frustrating than wanting to be a holistic massage therapist and having to spend more than half your time looking for clients. Get a feel for how it works for this person. You may find you would prefer to work for someone else and do the one thing you love for pay, than to start your own business and have to spend little time doing what you actually love and too much time finding customers.

Six – How do you get paid? And would you be willing to share a ballpark annual income? Benefits?

Again, depends if they are an employee or entrepreneur, but actually collecting payments may factor into what they do as well. Plus, it’s vital to know how much someone realistically makes if this is what you want to do. Also, follow this one up with how long it took them to make what they are making now.

Seven – What advice would you most want to give someone who is interested in this job, field, or industry? (Variation – What do you wish you’d known before you started?)

If they’ve been doing it any length of time, chances are they have a list of things they wish someone had told them up front. These insights are worth their weight in gold to someone like you analyzing and studying it.

Be sure to take notes, or ask them if you can record it if you’re a lousy note taker. You may think you’ll remember it all, but chances are you won’t. Stay on time and be sure to send that “thank you” note afterwards.

Recovering MBA. Writer. Photographer. Scanner. Learning Addict. Airplane Geek. Teacher. Certification Collector. Serenity Seeker. Semi-retiree in training.