Networking events can be great opportunities to learn about a company, its employees, and different careers. But what are the best networking questions to ask? Instead of sticking to asking what someone does and how they got there, think about asking these questions instead.
What is your role?
Beyond just asking someone what they do for a living, take advantage of their inside knowledge. When you’re networking, you’re able to go into deeper detail about someone’s career. Although titles can be common across companies, most often they refer to dramatically different and unique duties. After learning their title, ask about their team members. What verticals do they interact with on a daily basis? Who reports to them? How does their role affect overarching company positions? Learn about the way a person’s role fits into a company’s hierarchy. This is a great way to help you determine which types of careers you’re interested in, who the best types of contacts are to help you gain access to those careers, and who you would be working with.
How is your company affecting the industry?
Asking about the industry can also give you a different perspective on a company’s product or service. How are they presenting themselves as unique and innovative? Where do they see their product in the future? How is the industry changing? Use networking questions to learn about what trends companies see on the rise and industry changes poised to take place. You can learn about new software, growing markets, and other interesting changes by just asking the right question to someone who has knowledge in that field. Don’t just rely on online articles to help you learn about an entire market.
What are you passionate about?
If a company has an amazing culture to offer, most likely their employees are passionate about what they are doing. Do their answers coincide with their work role? Have they always been interested in their industry? Has their interest grown or diminished? If not, they could just be using their job as a stepping-stone which may give you pause before jumping into an interview. Additionally, asking about someone’s passions is a great way to build rapport. Find something you have in common and use it as an easy follow-up conversation starter.
What are your career goals?
Always ask a future-oriented question when you are networking. You never know when a connection could become key to your job search. Are they planning on growing within the company? Are they staying in the same industry? Have they already burnt out in this company size? Seeing where someone is headed can give you great insight into what their current job status is. If you meet with someone who loves their job, sees it dramatically changing the market, and can’t wait to move up in the company, then you’ve hit on a great opportunity. Lastly, when it comes to networking, don’t be afraid to offer your help as well. If their career goals match up with something you have influence in, offering your help is a great when to make connections as well.