Information Interviews: What Ask About

So you finally found someone to talk with who has the job

you have been dreaming of landing and

now you need to figure what to ask them about.

Well thanks to the collective thoughts of my clients we offer a list of questions to choose from.  These are questions that could be used for most occupations. You can and should include questions with information and language specific to the job that you are discussing. These you can create on your own and can have a colleague or friend review them for language accuracy and content appropriateness. You can ask questions about:

  1. Getting In- the organization’s recruiting platforms, strategies…
  2. The Organization- it’s future, culture, rewards…
  3. The Job- challenges, growth and development…
  4. The Interviewee- what they like and find rewarding about their job, what they have learned from experience…
  5. Professional Community- organizations and events to connect to professional community that spans organization…

A list of specific question you may ask in each of these categories is below. Of course, you will have gauge the amount of time you have for your meeting and select questions that are most relevant for you.

Make it as easy as possible to them to get to meet with you. Most people will agree to meet at coffee shop near their workplace or at their workplace. Be well prepared. Don’t ask about anything you can find on your own on the internet. Know what the organization’s purpose is, who their core clients are, what their core products and services are, and what their mission and values are. Always be sure to express your gratitude at the close of your meeting and if appropriate, ask you can keep the interviewee informed of your career progress and if possible find some way to be of assistance to them. Remember every meeting is an opportunity to give as well as receive. Don’t try to change the nature of the meeting to opportunity to directly promote yourself and ask for assistance with getting a job. Do this is deceitful and inappropriate. The interviewee will be judging you by the quality of questions, your occupation specific knowledge and interest you exhibit in your questions and the level of respect you demonstrate throughout your conversation.

 1) Getting In:

Entry to the organization:

  • Generally, how do people get their first jobs in this organization?

Seasonality to hiring:

  • When are the peak/best times in a year for hiring?
  • When are the worst?

Organization’s recruitment means and plans:

  • How does your organization recruit?
  • Does your organization have plans for recruiting in the future for/with special needs?

Current requirements:

  • What positions are currently vacant in your organization?
  • What skills are needed but difficult to recruit for in your organization?

2) The Organization:

Organization growth:

  • Does your organization have any expansion plan?
  • What kind of new projects is your organization getting?
  • Is your organization planning to open branches in new locations?

Organization’s culture:

  • Does the organization evaluate employee performances?
  • How accessible is management?
  • How are wage increases determined?
  • How would you describe your organization’s culture?
  • What level in the organization are decision makers at (Who is Who): How many levels are there in the organization structure ?

Communication flow: (BOTTOM to TOP and TOP to BOTTOM)

  • How are significant matters, such as growth of the organization is communicated to employees? (eg AEM, All Employee Meetings)

Employees satisfaction:

  • What motivation programs are offered to employees?
  • What have you seen / do you think of the employee turnover rate?

3) The Job:

Challenges for this job:

  • What kind of challenges do you go through/face in this position?

Career development and growth:

  • Does your organization offer development workshops for employees?
  • How often are performance reviews conducted and based on that are training plans made?
  • How do employees move either horizontally or vertically?
  • How do promotions happen?
  • What are some of the next level positions people in your company in your position advance to?

Critical tools/technology/techniques:

  • What is the current technology you are working on?
  • What kind of software do you use to……………….?
  • What new technology is your company considering upgrading to or introducing?

Certifications/qualifications required (or) preferred:

  • Are there any specific certifications required for your job with your employer?
  • What does it take to be successful in this job?

Recognition and Rewards (R&R):

  • How often and by what means do people get recognition and rewards?
  • How do people qualify for rewards in your organization?
  • What form are rewards and recognition given in? and by who?

 4) Interviewee:

What he/she likes about job:

  • What are you interested in about your job?
  • What do you like the most/least about your job?
  • What is fun about your work?

Past Achievements and Recognition:

  • What successes or accomplishments have you had? And how is it recognized?
  • What are some challenges you have faced?
  • What skills do you have that have contributed to your success?
  • What is your approach to resolving (complicated) problems?

Learning from experience to share:

  • What are some of the key dos and don’ts you learned on your way to this position and in it?

Referral to others:

  • Who else can you suggest I talk to who is working in this area?

 5) Professional community:

Organizations/associations to connect with:

  • Which professional associations would you suggest I be a member of?


  • What events or meetings would you suggest are good for networking and/or professional development?

Anything else I should know?


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