Using informational interviews to support learning is a structured Career Exploration activity in which students formally interview an employer partner about his or her industry, educational and career path, and chosen profession. Students may also explore the range of career opportunities within the company or industry, opportunities for growth and the salary ranges for different occupations.
Designed to meet specific learning objectives, informational interviews are educationally rich, are tied to the curriculum, and help students connect what they’re learning in school with the workplace. Unlike a guest speaker activity, where speakers usually address a group in the classroom, informational interviews are one-to-one interactions and generally take place at the company’s workplace. They may also be conducted via telephone – ideally utilizing Facetime or Skype. In some cases, hybrid informational interviews may be conducted via Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet or some other technology; are conducted online, and students participate in a virtual classroom. There are also virtual simulations available where a recording of a live informational interview, conducted by a teacher or small group of students, can be viewed online and serve as a foundation for an activity and/or discussion in the classroom.
Informational interviews are one activity in the continuum of authentic work-based experiences provided to all students engaged in career-related programs or course of study in New York City schools.
*In New York State, this includes certified work-based learning coordinators and others who facilitate, arrange and support work-based learning activities for students.
Conducting informational interviews virtually requires a careful look and policies and procedures regarding student contact via phone or the internet with industry partners outside the school setting.
Informational interviews are usually conducted individually at the workplace or the school, however they may take place over the phone or using technologies such as FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Meet when appropriate permissions, guidance and protections are in place.
Virtual and hybrid informational interviews approaches are more straight-forward in terms of conducting them in an on-line environment, yet they lack the power of direct student and industry partner interaction. There are also a number of virtual simulations available where a recording of a live interview with an industry partner can be viewed on-line and serve as a foundation for an activity and/or discussion in the classroom
Remember, virtual activities either promote “live” student contact with adult professionals and front-line workers via the use of technology, or are simulations and provide students with employer exposures through recordings, online research and related classroom activities. Appropriate permissions, protections and guidance should be developed to support these experiences.
A student formally interviews an Industry Partner over the phone or internet about his or her industry, educational and career path, and chosen profession.
Students review a prerecorded interview with an industry professional in the virtual classroom and engage in a guided discussion after the interview.
Consider having students conduct online research to locate prerecorded interview session with employers and use those on the classroom.
A model where small groups interview an industry partner via Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet or some other technology, record the session and then use it to form the foundation for a classroom activity and discussion.