Informational Interview

Hello SD interns,

Throughout the next couple of weeks, I’m going to be interviewing various professionals in the career fields of Criminal Justice, Nursing, and Social Services in Sioux Falls, Custer, Redfield, and Yankton. I will ask them questions about their day-to-day tasks and how they got to be where they are today.

Informational interviews are a great way to gain information about a business in a comfortable atmosphere as well as meeting people that could lead to future employment. I thought I would share a few tips with you about conducting an informational interview just in case you are interested in a full-time career with the State of South Dakota. 😉

The following tips come from my own experiences working as a peer career advisor at St. Cloud State University Career Services and prdaily.com.

1. Know yourself: What is it about you that make you different from other candidates? What are your skills and interests? What are your career goals?

2. Research, research, research: Look at the business’s web site, brochures, and annual reports. If you want to learn more about working for us visit http://bhr.sd.gov/workforus.aspx.

3. Contact a career professional: Talk to your friends, family, and professors if they know anybody in your field that would be willing to do an informational interview. The next thing to do would be to call or write to them expressing your interest to meet with them in person to discuss opportunities in this field (remind them that you’re not asking for a job interview). Explain that the interview would only be a half hour at the most and if they say no, ask if they know someone else that you can contact to do an interview.

4. Prepare for the interview: Make sure you do your research, you are properly dressed, you have a resume, and you have questions to ask the person.

Some sample questions you could ask:
• What do you do during a typical work day/week?
• What kind of training or experience is required for entry into this career field?
• What are the most rewarding aspects of this job?
• Which firms do you feel are your biggest competitors?
• What skills are most essential for effectiveness in this job?
• How does one advance in this field?
• How much flexibility do you have in terms of dress, work hours, and vacation?
• What advice do you have for me?

5. During the interview: Remember that you are there to acquire information, ask questions, and meet other professionals.

6. Follow-up with a thank-you letter and add your contacts onto your LinkedIn profile.

Thank you for reading!

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