Networking at Career Talks

Career events and career fairs are coming around the corner, and the job search process especially networking can be a stressful experience. The universities which I’m associated with, have asked for a list of questions that students can ask, since Asians tend to be shy.

The ability to ask insightful questions reflects an intelligent mind. Do not ask questions where there is available open source material such as company website, Hoover, Bloomberg etc, but you may show the extent of your research by asking further questions.

Note that timing is important when asking questions. The questions below only serve as a guide. Use your judgment as to when you should ask the questions. Pay attention to the “flow” of the conversation to avoid the conversation sounding awkward and abrupt.

Questions about the company

  1. Where do the great ideas come from in your organization?
  2. How will you measure success?
  3. When faced with two equally-qualified candidates, how do you determine whom to hire?
  4. How do you encourage creative thinking within your organization?
  5. What do you want to see accomplished in your team/ department/ company in the next 3 to 6 months? What would be ideal outcome or key performance indicator?
  6. Can you explain the impact, if any, that social networking and Web 2.0 has made on your organization or you personally?
  7. What is the biggest challenge facing your industry today?

Questions to the speaker at a personal level

  1. Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader? Maybe some one who has been a mentor to you? Why and how did this person impact your life?
  2. What are some of your go-to resources for getting guidance in your field of work?
  3. How will this position impact the organisation overall?
  4. How can I be helpful to you right now?
  5. What advice would you give someone going into this industry for the first time?
  6. What do you like to do? (Instead of what do you do?)

At an informal networking event, I do not like to ask someone what they do because it ”signals that the asker is interested in assessing the other person’s power and status to gauge if they’ll be ‘useful’ to speak with.

Don’t crowd around the CEO of the company, often times you’ll find that the younger company representatives may have more to share since they were not too long ago in your shoes.

News-worthy events

  1. So what do you think about [XXXXXXXXXX]  and its impact to your industry?
  2. How do you read the impact of a [XXXX] on your industry
  3. Can you explain the impact, if any, that social networking and Web 2.0 has made on your organization or you personally?

Questions to the speaker


Michael Hyatt is one of my favourite gurus. Do check out his website and podcasts.

  1. What are the most important decisions you make as a leader of your organization?
  2. As an organization gets larger there can be a tendency for the “institution” to dampen the “inspiration.” How do you keep this from happening?
  3. How do you or other leaders in your organization communicate the “core values”?
  4. How do you encourage others in your organization to communicate the “core values”?
  5. How do you ensure your organization and its activities are aligned with your “core values”?
  6. How do you help a new employee understand the culture of your organization?
  7. What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess?
  8. What is the one behavior or trait that you have seen derail more leaders’ careers?
  9. What are a few resources you would recommend to someone looking to become a better leader?
  10. Could you share some of the resources you are using to ensure you continue to grow and develop as a leader?

What other questions would you add to the above list?  Pls comment below.

Happy Networking and career success.




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