The Purpose:

Conducting informational interviews helps you learn to identify people who are doing what you want to do. Different from a job interview, you ask the questions. Your goal is to gather information you need in order to make a good decision. You want people who are doing a specific job to confirm what the occupation is really like before you commit your time, effort, and finances to the pursuit of that occupation. The process helps broaden your knowledge of the occupational field you are exploring. Remember, you are not looking for a job, but confirming information you have about the occupation and also developing contacts that may prove useful in the future.

The Process:

You may know a relative, friend or other acquaintance involved in the fields in which you are interested. Or you may know someone who can provide you with a potential contact. If you have no personal contact or referral, you may use the telephone to make a new contact.

Make an appointment to meet for 15-20 minutes. Even if you think you have the answers to some of the questions, the interview will help flesh out details and possibly fill in some gaps in your information – some that you may not realize are there. Be sure to thank your interviewee and follow up with a thank-you letter.

Questions To Ask:

  • How would you describe your typical workday?
  • What do you like most about your job?
  • What do you like least about your job?
  • What education and training is needed for someone who wants to enter this field now?
  • What skills and experience is needed to get into this field?
  • What personal qualities do you think are most important in your work?
  • What do you wish someone had told you before you entered this field?
  • What are the opportunities for promotion?
  • Is this field expanding or taking any new directions?
  • What steps did you take to enter this field?
  • What are some alternative ways to enter this field?
  • What is the salary range for this field?
  • What types of people tend to do well in this field?
  • What are the stressors that you experience on the job?
  • What related occupations would you suggest I investigate?
  • Who else does this type of job?
  • What else do you think I need to know that I have not asked?
  • Can you give me the names and contact information of three other people who also enjoy working in this field?
For additional information, contact Career Services at (205) 934-4324 or email careerservices@uab.edu.



Interview question answers - Dentist
Interview question answers - Law

UAB News

  • Theatre UAB presents Sam Shepard’s “Buried Child” from Feb. 24-28
    Sam Shepard’s 1979 Pulitzer Prize-winning dissection of a Midwestern family, “Buried Child,” ranks with “The Glass Menagerie” and “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” as an evocative, haunting American masterpiece.
    Assistant Professor of Theatre Jack Cannon as Dodge, Antonio Mitchell of Phenix City as Tilden and Carla Smith of Birmingham as Halie in Theatre UAB’s production of “Buried Child."

    Theatre UAB will explore Sam Shepard’s dark vision of a twisted American dream in “Buried Child,” with performances from Feb. 24-28 at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

    Theatre UAB is the performance company of the UAB College of Arts and SciencesDepartment of Theatre. The department’s season includes five main-stage productions each academic year. All plays in the season are performed in UAB’s own Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center.

    Directed by Professor of Theatre Karla Koskinen, “Buried Child” is Shepard’s 1979 Pulitzer Prize-winning dissection of a Midwestern family. When Vince brings his girlfriend home to visit, she at first likens the farmhouse to a Norman Rockwell painting. Things change as she meets the ranting, violent inhabitants, and gradually a dark secret emerges. Shepard’s radical, macabre treatment of the inescapability of the familial bond ranks “Buried Child” with “The Glass Menagerie” and “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” as an evocative, haunting American masterpiece.

    Theatre UAB will present “Buried Child” at 7:30 p.m. nightly Feb. 24-27, with a 2 p.m. matinee Feb. 28, in the Alys Stephens Center’s Sirote Theatre, 1200 10th Ave. South. Tickets are $12 and $15, student tickets are $6, and UAB employee and senior citizen tickets are $10. This play contains strong adult language and themes. Call 205-934-3236 or visit the department online at www.uab.edu/cas/theatre.

    The mood of the play has a great deal of humor, but it’s the kind used as a survival mechanism, says Koskinen. The audience is like people who drive by a somewhat deserted farmhouse, and wonder what goes on inside. They are invited into the stark, uncomfortable world, abandoned by comfort, love and any sense of home.

    Shepard uses symbols and opposites throughout the play: the decaying house and land magically come back to life; the American dream becomes a nightmare of despair; the prodigal son returns, but no one recognizes him. The farm was at one time thriving, producing milk and plentiful crops; but now it has dried up. When life does return, vegetables grow at the wrong time of the year. The rain that brings the crops also washes away the dirt and exposes the family’s long-buried secret.

    The cast is Carla Smith of Birmingham as Halie; Antonio Mitchell of Phenix City as Tilden; Terrance Campbell of Leeds as Bradley; Dai’Sean Garrett of Childersburg as Vince; Gracie Brazeal of Birmingham as Shelly; Assistant Professor of Theatre Jack Cannon as Dodge; and Joseph Baude of Arab as Father Dewis. The crew is Lauren Edwards of Stockton, California, stage manager; Hannah Mueller of Chelsea and Aaron Duncan of Bessemer, assistant stage managers; and Bliss Bailey of Tuscaloosa, assistant director. Assistant Professor Marlene Johnson worked with the cast as vocal coach. Additional assistant director for the show is Gemma Peris of Bonrepós i Mirambell, València, Spain.

  • School of Health Professions online bachelor’s ranked in top 10 by SuperScholar
    UAB’s School of Health of Professions has made SuperScholar.org’s list for top online bachelor’s programs in health care administration, ranking ninth.

    The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s School of Health Professions has been ranked ninth on SuperScholar.org’s list for top online bachelor’s programs in health care administration.

    The School of Health Professions offers an online degree program for a Bachelor of Science degree in health care management. This program prepares students for mid-level management positions in a variety of health care settings.

    Curriculum for the degree includes five options:

    1. Long-term care administration track
    2. Pre-professional track
    3. Health care management/occupational therapy fast track
    4. General manager track
    5. Clinical manager track

    The “smart choice” ranking by SuperScholar was developed to help prospective students find high-quality online programs that fit their schedules and their budgets. Schools were evaluated based on market reputation, flexibility, student satisfaction, accessibility and affordability.

  • UAB researchers identify protein that plays key role in brain cancer stem cell growth and survival
    New UAB research study shows therapeutic promise in targeting MLK4 in brain cancer patients.
    Front row, from left: Ichiro Nakano, Sunghak Kim, Terry Hamby, Tesha Sherpa, Mutsuko Minata, Shinobu Yamaguchi; Back row: Jun Wan, Zhuo Zhang, Svetlana Komarova, Marat Pavliukov, Jia Wang

    A team of physicians and scientists at the University of Alabama at Birmingham discovered that a kinase protein, mixed lineage kinase 4, also known as MLK4, plays a crucial role in survival of patient-derived brain cancer stem cells in pre-clinical animal models. The findings suggest that MLK4 could potentially be a useful target for cancer treatment.

    Protein kinases are key regulators of cell function that constitute one of the largest and most functionally diverse gene families. Until recently, MLK4 was considered a poorly characterized kinase. The UAB team, however, identified this gene from a stepwise screening of molecules that are elevated in cancer stem cells isolated from brain cancer patients.

    The findings, published this week online in Cancer Cell, nailed down the novel molecular mechanisms for which MLK4 is essential in cancer stem cells and not in normal cells in the human body. Most importantly, brain cancer patients with higher MLK4 expression have shorter survival despite the current intensive therapies including surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Nonetheless, there are no MLK4-targeting therapies or clinical trials currently available for patients.

    “There is no doubt that society desperately needs new and effective therapies for this life-threatening brain disease. Improvement of patient survival for the past 50 years has been counted by months and not years,” said Ichiro Nakano, M.D., Ph.D., professor in the UAB Department of Neurosurgery and principal investigator of the study. “We, as an international collaborative team centered at UAB, focus on cancer stem cells as a therapeutic target in brain cancers.”

    “There is no doubt that society desperately needs new and effective therapies for this life-threatening brain disease. Improvement of patient survival for the past 50 years has been counted by months and not years. We, as an international collaborative team centered at UAB, focus on cancer stem cells as a therapeutic target in brain cancers.”

    In early 2000, Nakano was involved in a team that isolated cancer stem cells from brain cancers at the University of California at Los Angeles. This discovery gained attention from physicians and scientists because accumulating evidence suggested that cancer stem cells are relatively therapy-resistant and appear to contribute to re-generation of recurrent tumors that subsequently kill affected patients.

    “Cancer stem cells share many of the properties of normal stem cells but have also gained transformed cancerous phenotypes,” said Sunghak Kim, Ph.D., an instructor in the UAB Department of Neurosurgery who has led much of the research. “We have been trying to identify the cancer stem cell-specific Achilles heel that could make all the difference.”

    While conducting this study, the investigators also found that MLK4-high tumors appear to have Mesenchymal signature, considered to be one process cancers use to become aggressive and therapy-resistant.

    “Approximately 35 to 40 percent of glioblastoma patients appear to have Mesenchymal signature. It is also interesting that some non-Mesenchymal cancers seem to shift their phenotype to a Mesenchymal one after therapeutic failure,” Kim said. “We are still collecting more data on this additional piece of information to prove that this is a universal event in brain cancers.”

    It is important to note that MLK4 is not expressed in all brain cancers. But now that research indicates that MLK4 is elevated in a subset of brain cancer patients and plays a key role in brain cancer stem cell growth, the next step is to identify targeted therapies that affect the MLK4 in the cancer stem cells.

    “We have begun to collaborate with Southern Research Institute to screen drug candidates that selectively target MLK4 in brain cancers,” said Nakano, also a senior scientist at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center. “Targeting strategies for MLK4 may work for other cancer types, as we already know that MLK4 is highly expressed in some other malignant types of cancers.”

    Nakano added, “Ultimately, we want better outcomes for patients with brain cancer. There’s no question that this is not an easy battle. But by further understanding the molecular mechanisms and applying new targeted therapeutic strategies including MLK4, we are hoping to provide brain cancer patients with more promising and tailored therapeutic approaches.”

    Collaborative participants on this project include M.D. Anderson, Ohio State University, University of Texas, Northwestern University, Cincinnati Hospital Medical Center, and a variety of German and Japanese research departments and institutes.

    The work was supported by the American Cancer Society, the Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and Takeda Science Foundation.

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