Top 7 Questions to ask on a Job Shadow Interview

So you finally got that busy professional to let you come in on a work day and shadow her.

Now what?

Job shadowing is a great way to observe someone at work and test drive a career BEFORE you invest your time and money.

Here’s the catch. If you ask lousy questions, you will get lousy answers.

I completed a survey of career experts for seven questions to help you rock

your job shadow interview.  Enjoy!


1.  What is one thing that surprised you about your career/current position?

Ask this question, and watch your host spill the beans on the myths surrounding her job.

2. Describe your normal day from the first coffee in the morning on…

Seems obvious right? You’d be surprise at how many people don’t ask this simple question. The more detail you draw out the better.


3. What are three personality traits of the top performers in this job?

This question is all about culture. If being a wired, assertive, detail person rubs you the wrong way, than maybe you won’t enjoy the culture of being a lawyer.

4. What training/education have you received and how did you learn from those experiences?

This question lays out a game plan for what training you need to be successful in your career. You also can determine then and there if you are willing to make  that commitment.


5. What most excites you about your job?

Listen carefully for the answer to this question, then ask yourself if the exciting parts of your host’s career are just as exciting for YOU.

6. What least excites you about your job?

No job is perfect.  You need to make sure that good parts outweight the boring, paper-shuffling parts.


7.  What advice would you give someone looking to enter this career?

This question is your chance to get some timely insights about what your next steps should be.


Bonus Question: Is it ok if I follow up with you on my progress in the next few months?

Capitalize on the excitement of the moment and lock in the second meeting. This is called an “upfront contract.” Since you are getting her to agree to the meeting ahead of time, you won’t seem like an annoying pest when you email a few months down the road.  That way if  she gets busy you can remind her of the commitment  by saying, “as per our conversation, you mentioned it was ok to follow up with you about my progress.”  Who knows, maybe if you wow your host with your follow up they might offer you a job a recommendation, or become your career mentor.



Here are two great virtual job shadow resources to check out


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@BertrandGervais, Bert Gervais, aka “The Mentor Guy,” is one of America’s most in-demand professional speakers. He is an author, mentorship expert, and an award-winning entrepreneur. He speaks on menteeship, mentorship and leadership. His goal is to make average history. Bert is the Amazon best selling author of “Who’s In Your Top Hive?Your Guide to Finding Your Success Mentors.” Follow Bert at and look out for the launch of his new blog “momentee” (creating momentum for mentees) on tumblr, 4/26/2011