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Career Exploration – Informational Interviews

By Ruth
July 3 2018

Posted in Student Resources

Thinking about what your first professional job might be? One of the challenges for students is that you often don’t know what a job title or field of work is ACTUALLY like, let alone whether you’ll enjoy it. One of the best ways to find out more about your potential first role is to chat to people who are already doing it. This article has some suggestions for students, soon to be graduates, or anyone  considering a career switch, to undertake an “informational interview” with someone already working in your future role. This content was adapted from the MIT Career Development Handbook – it’s been adjusted to suit the NZ career environment, and the local tech industry.

What is an Informational Interview?

An informational interview is a low-pressure way to gather career information from people who are already working in occupations, organisations, or geographic locations you are interested in. Both the content of the information, and the process of gathering it will help you to refine your career goals, your job search strategy, your target profession or organisation, and possibly discover new ones.

Who do I talk to?

Find people working in careers you want to know more about. Start by asking people you already know.


How do I approach them?

You can request to set up meeting by email, in person, via social networking sites like LinkedIn, or on the phone.

How do I prepare?

Now it’s time to prepare for your meeting just as you would for an actual job interview.

Suggested questions for informational interviews

Job Description

Career Path

Work Environment





Time to meet!

Informational Interviews are more casual than job interviews, but you should still make a positive professional impression. On the day of the meeting:

Process what you learned

Take a moment to reflect:

Next steps

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