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Sample Questions

Ask the person you are shadowing whatever you are curious about. Be aware, however, that due to confidentiality they may not answer some of your questions.

The following questions serve as suggestions of topics you may want to discuss with the person you are shadowing. Be prepared with at least 10 questions from this list to ask your mentor.

Questions about the job:

  • What is involved in a typical day?
  • What are some of the routine aspects of your position?
  • How did you get interested in this field?
  • What is the best part?
  • W hat keeps you in the profession?
  • What are the toughest problems you face?
  • What skills are most essential for effectiveness in this field?
  • What personal/professional qualities will contribute to success in this field?
  • Do you work independently or in a group?


  • What advice would you give to someone who wants to do this kind of work?
  • How did you prepare for this field?
  • If you were a college student again, what would you do the same and/or differently?
  • What careers are possible with my major?
  • What electives will be most useful?
  • What experiences during college will enhance my employability?
  • What types of training are provided to persons entering this field?
  • How can students find summer jobs or internships in your field?
  • Are there other means of gaining experience before graduation?
  • Is a graduate degree important? If so, what fields of study are helpful?
  • Can you recommend sources for more information?


  • Outside of the ordinary workweek, what obligations are placed on you?
  • How often do you work past 6 p.m. and on weekends?
  • Which seasons of the year are toughest in your field?

Supply and demand

  • What types of employers hire people in your line of work?
  • How competitive are entry-level jobs?
  • What type of job search would you recommend?
  • What developments on the horizon could affect future opportunities?
  • Why do people leave this field?

Additional questions

  • How long does it usually take to move from one step to the next in this career path?
  • How do you see entry-level jobs in this field changing over the next few years?
  • What career options and paths are available in this field?
  • How should I present myself in an employment interview?
  • What are related jobs that I might explore?
  • If you made a career change, what other fields would you consider?
  • To get promotions, is job-hopping necessary?
  • What would be my earning potential if I entered this field?