An information interview is a method of gaining a deeper understanding of a particular industry or occupation, by finding and talking to established professionals in a field of interest to you. This networking timeline is meant as a guideline to illustrate the process of identifying professionals to conduct information interviews with.

1 Identify & research career field/occupation

  • Professional experience
  • Self-assessment (TypeFocus & Career Counselling)
  • Career Cruising
  • O-Net
2 Identify company/organization

  • Job search websites
  • E-blue book
  • Glassdoor
  • Networking events (Carleton’s Career Website -CUHire; Community Listings; Chamber of Commerce)
  • Contacts (e.g., friends, family, professors, past employers, etc.)
3 Identify people

  • Contacts (e.g., friends, family, professors, past employers, etc.)
  • Contact the company/organization
  • Networking events (Carleton’s Career Website-CUHire; Community Listings; Chamber of Commerce)
  • LinkedIn
  • Contact professionals and let them know you are researching careers, and would like to meet for an information interview
    • Be clear you are not asking for a job and are instead interested in learning about their experience
    • Have a specific timeframe and location in mind that is convenient for your contact
4 Conduct information interview

Possible questions to ask about:

  • 1) Person you are interviewing (e.g., their career path, educational background, training, memberships, etc.)
  • 2) The job (e.g., workday, responsibilities, likes/dislikes, skill(s) they had to learn, etc.)
  • 3) Company (e.g., training opportunities, projects, events, student opportunities, etc.)
  • 4) Advice unique to your situation (e.g., volunteer/work recommendations, courses, etc.)
  • 5) Follow-up & referral (e.g., involvement opportunities, other professionals you may contact, etc.)

Ask about AIR: Advice, Insight, Referral

5 Follow-up & maintenance

  • Thank you note/email
  • Stay in contact (e.g., update the person about your progress, respond to opportunities)
  • Ways to give back (e.g., volunteer opportunities, information about research, events, articles, etc.)