Informational Interviews & Job Shadows

Experience Career Options

Informational Interview Guide (PDF)

Use the above guide to learn about how to find people to interview, how to arrange the interview, and how to conduct the actual interview.

What Is an Informational Interview?

An informational interview is a meeting that you schedule with a person who works for a company or in a field that interests you. The purpose of such a meeting is to allow you to gather information for further exploration of that particular company or career field. An informational interview is not a job interview; rather it puts you in contact with a an experienced professional who can give you helpful information and a realistic idea of what it is like to work in a particular job and who maybe in a position to recommend you for a job and introduce you to further contacts.

Why do informational interviews?

Informational interviewing is an excellent way to get the “inside scoop” on an employer or a career field. Other benefits include:

  • You will gain valuable information about a job you may wish to pursue. In many cases, you would not have access to the information if you did not get it through an information interview.
  • You will learn the particulars of an organization or job—how you might fit in, what needs or problems there are, etc.
  • You will get a realistic idea of what kind of salary range to expect in a particular job.
  • You will enlarge your circle of “contacts.” Remember, many times it is who you know (or get to know) that gets your foot in the door.
  • You will have the opportunity to ask for referrals. For example: “Would you suggest some other people I might contact about careers in this field?”

Review this list of Suggested Questions to Ask in an Informational Interview

Job Shadowing

Benefits for the Student:

  • Shadow A Professional
  • Ask Questions
  • Observe The Workplace
  • Get An Inside Look
  • Define Career Interests

Job shadowing takes informational interviews one step further. They allow one to spend time observing and “shadowing” a professional in a career or occupation of interest to you. It’s a GREAT way of exploring careers and experiencing first-hand the day-to-day activities of professionals without a long-term commitment. Experiences can be as little as half a day to as many as two days. While spending time with a professional, you will want to be sure to ask questions to maximize your learning while observing the “culture” in the workplace. Shadows can be done with a Greensboro College alumni or member of the Triad community who has a proven track record in his or her field.

Some examples of questions you may want to ask:

  • How did you come to work in this field?
  • What is your background, education and training?
  • What is a typical day like?
  • What do you like most about your job? Least?
  • What skills and qualities would make one successful in this career?
  • What advice do you have for someone interested in this type of career?
  • Are there any websites I should look at or professional organizations I should know of and/or join?
  • Can you refer me to anyone else I might speak with about this field or a similar career?

Read about real interviews with professionals at

As with informational interviews, be certain to request a business card and follow up with a thank-you note or email as quickly as possible as after your shadow.

Joshua Fitzgerald photo

“I loved the GC Honors program and Greensboro College. I felt safe and a sense of genuine belonging at the college. I worked closely with my thesis advisor and professors who helped inspire me to define my path and passion of interest. That path has led me to my doctoral studies in Engineering Mechanics.”

- Joshua Fitzgerald, Class of ’19, Mathematics Major

Joshua currently studies astrodynamics at Virginia Tech University and is an Engineering Mechanics Ph.D. Candidate.