ALC Consulting

June 4, 2009

Informational Interviews—Part II: The Good and the Bad

chp_interview

This came from Google, and I think it is way off base. Someone got lost along the way and felt the need to turn an informational interview into a job interview. I have bolded the questions that I think are inappropriate. (from me)

Be prepared when you conduct an informational interview with questions to ask your interviewee. Below are 200 possible questions. Of course, you can’t ask anywhere near this many in an interview of 20-30 minutes, but this plentiful list will ensure that you choose questions to which you really want the answers. (Google talking here)

General questions about your interviewee’s career field:

  1. What are the various jobs available in this field?
  2. What types of training do companies offer those who enter this field?
  3. In what ways is your occupation changing?
  4. How is the economy affecting this industry?
  5. What is the employment outlook like in your career field? How much demand is there for people in this career?
  6. How quickly is the field growing?
  7. What are the growth areas of this field?
  8. Can you estimate future job openings?
  9. What parts of the country offer the best opportunities in this field?
  10. What are the opportunities in this career like in [geographical area you are most interested in]?
  11. What is the typical entry-level salary in this field?
  12. What is the salary ranges for higher levels in this occupation?
  13. Is there a salary ceiling?
  14. Aside from such visible compensation as money, fringe benefits, travel, etc., what kinds of mental dividends (such as job satisfaction) does this career yield?
  15. Is this industry heavily regulated?
  16. What do you find unique about your career field?
  17. From everything you’ve observed, what problems can you cite regarding working in this career?
  18. What skills or personal characteristics do you feel contribute most to success in this industry?
  19. What sacrifices have you had to make to succeed in this field, and do you feel the sacrifices were worth it?
  20. When people leave this career, what are the usual reasons?
  21. What are the typical entry-level job titles and functions?
  22. What entry-level jobs offer the best opportunities for the greatest amount of learning?
  23. What are the most significant characteristics of this industry?
  24. What trends in the field would be most likely to affect someone just entering this career now?
  25. What kinds of people experience the greatest success in this field?
  26. What is the most important thing that someone planning to enter this career should know?

All about your interviewee’s job:

  1. What is your exact title?
  2. Do other people in your company with the same job title that you hold have the same responsibilities?
  3. What was your title when you first started here?
  4. What precisely do you do? What are the duties/functions/responsibilities of your job?
  5. What is your job like?
  6. To what extent is it you expected it would be?
  7. How much job security do you have in this position?
  8. What is a typical day like?
  9. What kind of hours do you normally work?
  10. Do you have to put in much overtime or work on weekends?
  11. Are the time demands of your job specific to this company, or would anyone in this career be expected to put in the same hours?
  12. Do you ever take work home with you?
  13. What kinds of problems do you deal with?
  14. What do you do if you can’t solve a problem on your own?
  15. Do you have to deal with a significant amount of conflict in his job?
  16. What systems are in place for dealing with conflict?
  17. What constraints, such as time and funding, make your job more difficult?
  18. What kinds of decisions do you make?
  19. Describe some of the toughest situations you’ve faced in this job.
  20. To what extent do you interact with customers/clients?
  21. What percentage of your time is spent doing each function?
  22. How does your time use vary? Are there busy and slow times or is the work activity fairly constant?
  23. Which other departments, functional units, or levels of the hierarchy do you regularly interact with?
  24. How much flexibility do you have in determining how you perform your job?
  25. Is your work primarily individual or predominately in groups or teams?
  26. How are work teams or groups organized?
  27. What are the most important personal satisfactions and dissatisfactions connected with your job? What part of this job do you personally find most satisfying? Most challenging?
  28. What are your interests and in what way does this job satisfy your interests?
  29. What do you like and not like about working in this job?
  30. Do you find your job exciting or boring? Why?
  31. Are there aspects to your job that are repetitious?
  32. Is multi-tasking a skill that is required for this job?
  33. What projects have you worked on that have been particularly interesting?
  34. What particular skills or talents are most essential to be effective in your job?
  35. How did you learn these skills?
  36. What are the educational, requirements for this job?
  37. What other types of credentials or licenses are required?
  38. Is graduate school recommended? An MBA? Some other graduate degree or certifications?
  39. What obligations does your employer place on you outside of the ordinary work week?
  40. What social obligations go along with a job in your occupation?
  41. Are there organizations you are expected to join?
  42. Are there other things you are expected to do outside work hours?
  43. How has your job affected your lifestyle?
  44. To what extent does this job present a challenge in terms of juggling work and family life?
  45. What are the major frustrations of this job?
  46. If you could change anything about your job, what would it be?
  47. Is there a great deal of turnover in this job?
  48. What interests you least about the job or creates the most stress?
  49. What is the job title of your department head or supervisor for this job?
  50. Where do you and your supervisor fit into the organizational structure?
  51. How many people do you supervise?
  52. How would you assess your prestige or level of status in this job? In the company?
  53. If you ever left your job, what would most likely drive you away?
    Next: More interview questions, the Bad and the Ugly.
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