“Informational Interview”

Career Mentor Paper

Your Career Mentor must be someone who has experience your field of interest and has been involved in hiring. Your mentor should have a minimum of three years of experience in the industry, and a background or knowledge of the hiring process for entry level candidates in their field. Interviews can be conducted by phone, in person, or virtually.

Arrange the interview. With permission to use the name of the person who referred you, arrange the phone, video, or in-person interview. Contact the person to set up an interview by telephone, by an email followed by a telephone call, or by having someone who knows the person make the appointment for you. An example follows:

Hello Mr. Jones, my name is YOUR NAME. Sally Smith indicated you would be a good person for me to speak with for information and advice on the NAME industry. I’m a class at Trine University and am gathering information for my job search. If possible, I’d like to set up a short meeting with you in the next two weeks.

Treat the appointment as you would a job interview. Prepare for the interview by researching the company in which your contact works. Dress professionally. Print out your list of questions you’d like to ask your contact. Bring copies of your resume with you to the interview. Consider emailing a confirmation of your appointment with your professional resume attached to the message as background information about you.

Informational/Referral Interview Questions (Source: PWC Personal Brand Week: Relationships & Mentoring Top 10 Tips II)

1. What is a typical day like for an entry-level professional in your organization/profession?

2. Tell me about how you made the decisions in your career path—why you chose this field, why you took positions and left positions.

3. What do you like best about your occupation? What do you like least?

4. What does your company/industry look for in the people they hire?

5. What activities, classes or other parts of your college experience best prepared you for your career?

6. What is the best decision you made as an undergraduate with respect to your professional life? Is there anything you would do differently?

7. What skills and experience are most impressive in your field?

8. What media outlets (blogs, magazines, newspapers, Twitter feeds, etc.) should I be reading or watching to be in the loop in the industry? What organizations and online groups do you recommend I belong to?

9. What do you think is the future outlook for your industry? What kinds of changes are taking place in this type of work?

10. Would you be willing to review my résumé and offer your opinion and advice?

“Informational Interview”

Career Mentor Paper

11. ASK ONLY IF YOU WILL CONDUCT ANOTHER INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEW ON YOUR OWN: Would you be willing to connect me with anyone else you know who might be able to offer some advice? (You can either ask your current interviewee to make an email introduction for you, or ask if it’s okay to use your interviewee’s name when contacting the person).

Send a thank you card. Ask for a business card and send a thank you letter within 24 hours of the interview. Personalize it, let them know what you learned, and your next steps as a result of their advice.

Write an Executive Summary. Make sure you summarize the answers to the interview questions provided in this paper.

The summary should include the following sections (single-spaced):


Assignment title, date, your name, class information, name of professor, name of institution


Concisely and smoothly introduces the subject, purpose, and scope of the summary

Includes a short biography of your mentor, including his/her college major, career path and details of his or her current position

Concisely and smoothly previews the report’s organizational structure


Describes answers to the questions and does not draw conclusions or offer opinions


Interprets results based on descriptive data offered by the interviewee in the results section, draws clear, well-reasoned conclusions about:

What you learned

How you will use this information

How you will continue to network in your field


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