Hartford Work-Based Learning Network Launches New Website!

Interview Guide

This helpful guide has been developed to help you prepare for a job interview, as well as provide you with valuable resources to help you introduce yourself to a prospective employer, reflecting on your actual interview, and following up with the employer after the interview.

Informational interviewing is a valuable tool for students to learn about key industries, professions, and required skills in the workplace. Many people enjoy talking about their careers and information interviews can provide a great opportunity to share advice and worthwhile information that helps students plan for and pursue their personal career goals.


  1. Decide on three areas of career interest and develop a list of possible contacts. As you choose the areas, develop a written list of your objectives:
    • What do you expect to learn?
    • How will that knowledge help you navigate your education and career path?
  2. Talk with family and friends to develop a list of industries and possible interviewees. Use the Internet to search careers and broaden your search.
  3. Select three employers who are either in different industries, if you want to explore different careers, or in different companies, but in the same industry, if you want to compare how various employers in the same industry are different.
  4. Vary the roles of those you chose. You will hear very different answers from a company owner, supervisor, or mid-level manager.
  5. Write either a telephone script or letter to introduce yourself and ask for a 30-minute informational interview. A sample letter is provided in the “Additional Resources” section. If you will introduce yourself by phone, practice your script before calling.
  6. Be prepared to explain the purpose of the interview and your objectives and both how and why you selected that person or company for the interview. Share two sample questions. Be sure the person you are to interview has your contact information.
  7. Schedule a time for a personal interview. Write down the agreed-upon time and place and then reconfirm it. Make sure it’s at a time when you have transportation and can get there comfortably. The day before your appointment, reconfirm the date, time, and place.
  8. If you are using technology for a virtual interview, be certain you have the required equipment and access to the appropriate website. Check to be certain your computer and connection are working well and you are able to use this technology effectively.
  9. Prepare your questions ahead of time (see “Additional Resources” section for sample questions). If you have not already done research on the industry and company, do so before the interview, and incorporate some of your knowledge into the questions you ask.
  10. The questions offered here are only examples. Use them as suggestions as you develop your own based on your objectives for the interview.
  11. Prioritize your questions and practice asking them. You will probably not have time to ask all your questions so be clear about which ones are most important to you. Be prepared to elaborate on your questions. For example, if you ask about the culture of the company, your interviewee may ask you to explain what you mean by “culture.”
  12. Make two copies of your questions: one for notetaking and one for your portfolio.
  13. Before attending the interview, make sure you have completed the appropriate paperwork required by your instructor or school.

  1. Preparation:
    1. Dress professionally
    2. Gather your notes, a notepad, and two pens
    3. Arrive 10 minutes early
    4. Carry identification
  2. During the interview:
    1. Take a few minutes to develop rapport at the beginning of the interview
    2. Ask the questions you have prepared, but also be open to new questions that come to mind
    3. Be prepared to explain exactly what you mean for each question
    4. If time is short, make a note of these other questions, but stick to the most important questions first
    5. Leave at the agreed-upon time unless you are invited to stay longer, but, either way, acknowledge when your time is up
    6. At the end of the conversation, thank the person for his or her time

  1. Immediately after your meeting, reflect on the interview:
    1. What went well?
    2. What could have been improved?
    3. What question(s) will you delete?
    4. What other questions do you wish you had asked?
    5. Which questions need to be revised?
    6. Could your use of time be improved? If so, how?
  2. Write and send a thank you note (a sample is included in the “Additional Resources” section):
    1. Express your appreciation for the time and information
    2. Mention one specific question and answer — something you learned from the interview
    3. Describe how you will use the information you learned
    4. Make two copies: one to mail and one for your portfolio
  3. Review your notes and develop a written report for your journal based on questions and responses (sample questions are included in the “Additional Resources” section). If requested by your teacher, develop a short presentation sharing what you learned from the interview.
  4. Review and revise your questions, decide on your next interview, and begin the process using these same guidelines.
Translate »