When you want to know something, sometimes the best thing to do is go to the source. If you want to know about a specific career, sometimes the best thing to do is ask someone in that career a lot of questions about it. These are called informational interviews
To conduct an informational interview, you must ask the professional who is in the career you're interested in if s/he will allow you to ask some questions to learn more about the career. Most people (who like their jobs) will consent because they remember what it's like to be in the position of trying to figure out what you want to do someday.
Once you have an appointment scheduled, you must be very prepared. Do your homework so you can ask some good questions. Be prepared with follow-up questions to keep the conversation going. Ask open-ended questions (questions that require more then a yes or no answer) so the professional will talk a lot - and take notes!
The 5th grade class at Bath Elementary School conduct Informational Interviews every year. In preparation, they learn about types of questions to ask and how to best prepare, focusing on . . .
POINTS TO REMEMBER
Planning is essential; have questions ready!
Make the person you're interviewing feel at ease by smiling, intorducing yourself, and explaining the project you're working on
Good eye contact is important!
Let the person you are interviewing do MOST of the talking - you listen!
Take accurate notes
CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING QUESTIONS
What do I want to accomplish?
Avoid sensitive questions
Ask open-ended questions (questions that can't be answered with a "yes" or "no")
Ask questions that begin with WHAT
- traits do people in your profession possess?
- salary range could I expect just starting out?
- are the biggest challenges in your job?
Ask questions that begin with WHEN
- did you choose this career?
- do you begin and end your workday?
Ask questions that begin with HOW
- did your company get started?
- would I go about finding a job in this profession?