Career Interviews as a Resource for Career Professionals

By Meg Gerry

Do you want to help your clients learn more about a specific career?  Not sure where to begin?  You might think of turning to the Internet, where you will discover an abundance of career information, but finding an in-depth interview about a specific profession can be a challenge.  This void is what inspired me to launch a series of in-depth video interviews with professionals currently working in their chosen field. 

As an independent career service provider, I wanted to offer my clients more than just the typical statistics, data and brief job overview that generally appear on career websites, so I set out to do something about that void.  I created a You Tube channel that contains a video library of in-depth interviews conducted with seven professionals currently working in their field.  The goal is to continually add to and enhance the collection.

To get started with the project, I reached out to several professionals and asked them if they would consider engaging in an in-depth interview describing their job.   I explained how the interviews would help my clients get a better picture of a career path before they launch headfirst into it.  I also had a vision that these videos could be shared to assist anyone wanting to learn more about a specific career.

The professionals I selected work in careers that require a significant investment of time and money to achieve the outcome, so they are especially beneficial to my clients that are considering such an intense commitment.   

Connecting with Theories
To prepare for the interviews, I researched some relevant career theories.  I relied on Mark L. Savickas’ “storied approach,” that uses questions to reveal self, stage, scripture and direction (Unplugged, 2014).  John Holland’s theory of career and vocational choice interested me, as I wanted to see if the career choices made by the professionals matched their RIASEC code.  This led me to invite two of the professionals I interviewed to take a Holland inspired assessment provided by Open Source Psychometrics (Rounds, 2008).  What I learned was that their RIASEC codes did match up with their career choice.

Donald Super’s Life-Span and Life-Space Career Theory provided inspiration for me to discover how the professional’s careers unfolded, and when career decisions were formulated from growth, to exploration to establishment: “Tell me about your past and what best prepared you for your career today?” I asked, and “how did you decide to become an architect?” for example. 

John Krumboltz influenced my interest in “Happenstance” (2008) as he provided the theoretical framework for learning more about the process of stumbling upon a career.   I was curious to learn if any of the professionals I interviewed fell into their career without strategic planning.  My interview with the Urban & Regional Planner stands out as an example of “happenstance” as she had trouble deciding on a college major.  She explored economics, history, political science, environmental science and geography and had no idea which direction to go, but she knew that all these subjects interested her.  While studying abroad in Denmark, she experienced an interdisciplinary approach, and the light bulb went off.  She discovered that she could combine all her areas of enthusiasm.  What once seemed like a combination of disjointed interests to her, suddenly morphed in to a perfect collaboration of assets needed to be an Urban & Regional Planner.  Trying out new things worked in this case.

Mark E. Young (2013), as a teacher of the art of helping and listening, provided a final inspiration for my interviews.  Not only are these skills essential to develop when interviewing, they are also critical to the work of a career service provider.  I have a long way to go in refining that skill, but as an unexpected outcome, the videos I created became a useful tool for me in my own self-reflection and self-development as I strive to become a better listener and master of helping skills.

Tailored Professional Questions
Drawing on theories, combined with my own intuitive desire to develop a deeper understanding of the work lives of the professionals I interviewed, I created a list of items tailored to each professional I interviewed.  Below is a sampling of inquiries used for the Optometrist interview:

  • Please introduce yourself
  • How did you decide to become an optometrist?
  • Is there anything about your past that influenced you to get to where you are today?
  • How did you decide on optometry as opposed to other careers?
  • What would you recommend to students thinking about applying to optometry school?
  • What did you like the most/least about optometry school?
  • What are the optometry boards like?
  • What is an optometry residency like?
  • Tell me about your career as an optometrist, what is a typical day like for you?
  • What is the best/worst part about being an optometrist?
  • Has there ever been a time when you considered leaving the profession/changing careers?
  • What is the one thing you would tell someone to research before they decided to apply to optometry school?
  • Looking back, is there anything you wish you had known, or something that you learned the hard way?
  • Here are some top values, work styles and skills associated with being an optometrist, do any of them resonate with you?
  • Is there any one book, movie, You Tube, specific person that has been influential?

To access an in-depth, career video interview with seven different professionals currently working in their field (optometrist, podiatrist, physical therapist, urban & regional planner, architect, hair dresser/business owner & teacher), please visit my You Tube Channel: 


Growing the Video Library
The video interviews I created are a highly effective tool for my clients trying to find out more about a specific career, which made me realize the need for additional videos.  Currently I offer seven videos in the collection, therefore, I would love to expand the library.  If you are inspired to create a career video interview and you would like to contribute to the collection, please send an email to Meg Gerry, academic.career.advising@gmail.com.



Decisions, T. D. (2007, October 15). Around we go. Retrieved from: http://catalogue.pearsoned.co.uk/samplechapter/0131712772.pdf

Krumboltz, J. (2010, January 29). John Krumboltz (reprise) luck is no accident. Retrieved from YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zqm0aKjiLLM

Krumboltz, J. K. (2014, June 25). You Tube. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-3OjOHhxgc

Mark Savickas Unplugged. (2014, October 1). Retrieved from YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujM3JCA8j-E

Rounds, J. (2008). RIASEC Markers Scales and Items. Retrieved from Open Source Psychometrics Projects: https://openpsychometrics.org/tests/RIASEC/

Young, M. E. (2013). Learning the art of helping: Building blocks and techniques. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education, Inc.


Meg GerryMeg Gerry, M.S., CCSP is owner of Academic & Career Advising Services, LLC. She has a Master of Science degree in Academic Advising from Kansas State University and a Graduate Certificate Degree in College Counseling from the UCLA Extension as well as receiving her Certified Career Services Provider (CCSP) training from NCDA. Meg is an Associate Member of IECA (Independent Educational Consultants Association), a Member NACAC (National Association for College Admissions Counseling), and a Member of NACADA (National Academic Advising Association). Visit her website at, www.academicandcareeradvisingservices.com, and browse her You Tube channel, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJb4cIoCnV7eNrWner109aw?view_as=subscriber. Contact Meg at academic.career.advising@gmail.com.


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Michelle Tullier   on Tuesday 10/02/2018 at 02:28 PM

Thank you so much for this contribution to our field! Great idea and well executed, particularly with theory as your foundation for the questioning.

Sharon Tyson   on Wednesday 10/03/2018 at 11:51 AM

Very interesting, that is a neat idea to use in career development. It would certainly help individuals know that they are not alone, that there are others like themselves searching for that career that will be most fulfilling to them. Good article.

Carmen Arroyo    on Saturday 10/06/2018 at 07:27 AM

Awesome read and idea! Thank you for providing this idea to our field. This definitely resonates with me as I am constantly striving to be better equipped to guide my young adults in career pathways.

Bill Heitsmith   on Monday 10/08/2018 at 12:00 PM

Nice work, Meg. Ill try to be in touch with you.


Jim Peacock   on Tuesday 10/09/2018 at 04:50 PM

Thank you so much for sharing. My clients are much more likely to view a video than going to read OOH or ONET.

Keep up the good work.

Meg Gerry   on Saturday 10/13/2018 at 02:26 PM

Thank you so much everyone for you kind comments & words of support. If anyone has a video interview that they would like to add to my collection, please don't hesitate to reach out! Thank you!

Linda Sollars   on Wednesday 10/17/2018 at 10:49 PM

This is such a creative and well-researched way of providing the breadth and depth of these careers. Great job, Meg!

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the comments shown above are those of the individual comment authors and do not reflect the views or opinions of this organization.