Informational Interviewing (For Alumni Mentors)

Informational Interviewing

Joining the Alumni Mentoring Network commits you to being available for informational interviews with students. These are one-time conversations in which students, as part of their career exploration, ask questions of you about your career path, your current work, and your advice for others interested in entering your field. Students who wish to have an informational interview with you will make the request via email to the email address you have listed in the directory.

Informational interviews help students learn about potential career paths, industries, and organizations. Such conversations with potential mentors are also a way for them to practice workplace communication skills. Some students are more comfortable with networking than others, and your ability to model professional interaction will be helpful to them. It is up to the student to ask questions and direct the conversation, but you should feel free to lend whatever guidance feels comfortable to you.  

Students are encouraged to view informational interviewing as a first step in building a professional network. Some informational interviews yield only information; some are the beginning of a professional connection. Students may follow up for additional advice and mentoring or they may learn enough from your conversation to conclude that they want to pursue other career paths. It’s up to you how you respond to subsequent communication from students.

Some questions you might anticipate hearing in an informational interview include the following:

  • How did you get from your humanities degree to this particular position?
  • What did you do in college that helped you in your career?
  • What is a typical day in your job like? What do you like about it?
  • What kinds of people thrive in this line of work?
  • How does one go about getting an entry-level job in this field?
  • What advice do you have for me?
  • Who else would you suggest that I talk to?