How to Interview Someone About Their Career
Exploring someone else’s career path can be an inspiring experience – and a great way to potentially uncover new opportunities for yourself. Whether you’re studying for a career in the same field, or just curious about what it’s like to be in that particular job, here are some tips for successfully interviewing someone about their career:
Do Your Research
Before you even think about scheduling an interview, be sure to do as much research as possible on the person’s industry, position and job history. The more you know before the interview, the better you’ll be able to tailor your questions – and get the most detailed answers.
Set Clear Objectives
What information do you hope to come away with? Setting clear objectives beforehand lets the interviewee know your explanation and gives you the basis for asking focused questions.
Structure Your Questions
There are a few kinds of questions you can use in your interview.
- Biographical Questions: These questions focus on finding out about a person’s background and look into their professional experience. Examples might include “What originally inspired you to pursue this career?” or “What did you do before taking this job?”
- Process Questions: These questions are focused on understanding the steps someone took in their career, and how they got there. Examples might include “Did you have any mentors or role models?” or “How did you go about getting your first job in this field?”
- Opinion Questions: These questions are meant to uncover a person’s wisdom and knowledge. Examples might include “What do you like about working in this industry?” or “What challenges have you faced in this career?”
Some of the best interview questions are the ones that arise from the answers. Don’t be afraid to follow-up on something they said if it’s interesting – it can often lead to great info and dialogue.
Ask About Resources
At the end of the interview, don’t be afraid to ask for resources or suggestions. This will help you in your research and open up potential learning opportunities.
It’s important to thank the interviewee for their time, and if possible, try to introduce them to people they may not know. They will appreciate the gesture and it could potentially open up further opportunities.
Interviewing someone about their career can be a great opportunity – to learn from their experience, generate ideas and inspire the next steps. Be sure to do your research, set clear objectives, and ask questions that will encourage meaningful dialogue. Most of all, remember to thank the person for their time so that you can build a lasting relationship.