9 Important Networking Questions and Sample Answers
Updated October 6, 2022
Networking questions build connections and secure career advancement opportunities. Asking a variety of questions ensures you have detailed information about other professionals and determines whether you would be interested in working with them in the future. The right questions return important information about someone's professional, educational, and personal experience. In this article, we discuss the importance of networking events and provide examples of common networking questions and answers.
Why are networking questions important?
Networking questions are useful when meeting new people, and opportunities come up frequently during work events and conferences. These questions help you build connections with like-minded professionals working in your field. Use these connections to develop and enhance skills you already have. The overall goal of networking events and the questions you ask during these events are growth and career development. Here are more reasons networking events and questions are important:
Relationships: Networking events allow you to meet new people and develop strong relationships that help you with your future career. These questions also provide you with the opportunity to socialize. Events usually take place after work hours and include food and music, giving you the chance to relax and unwind.
Industry trends: The questions you ask during networking events provides you with information about new industry trends. Industry leaders use these events to discuss recent changes and updates in trends.
Innovation: These events are also used to discuss innovation. These innovations involve new processes, procedures, and various workplace challenges. By keeping up-to-date with these innovations, you can adjust your own work and develop new ideas to advance your company or career.
Motivation: Networking events help increase your passion for your job and role within your company by connecting with people who share your enthusiasm. Asking them questions helps you build rapport more quickly and improves your job satisfaction.
Recruitment: If your company is looking for new staff, these questions and events allow you to find potential candidates to recruit for your company. By asking the right questions, you can narrow down which professionals are in the job market and might be a good fit for your organizational culture.
9 questions to ask during networking events
Here's a list of questions to ask other professionals during networking events:
1. Which classes would you take if you could go back to school?
This question provides you with insight into a person's interests and their academic experience. This is a great way to build rapport and find out whether they share any of the same experience or qualifications as you. An open-ended question like this gives the person you're talking to an opportunity to discuss their passions.
Example: "If I had to go back to school, I'd want to take classes in marketing or digital media. I feel they are courses that apply to any field, and having more knowledge of them allows professionals to create media for presentations, funding proposals, and essential components that would be useful in my current career."
2. What degree do you have?
This question not only shows your interest in the professional you're talking to, but also provides you with insight into the person's experience. It also gives them an opportunity to discuss their achievements and opens the conversation up to a discussion about more than just their current role.
Example: "I completed my undergraduate degree in engineering in 2017. Last year, I completed a graduate degree in mechanical engineering. I'm now thinking of obtaining my PhD in case I ever want to teach at university or advance my career further, but I haven't decided on anything yet."
3. Did your education prepare you for this industry?
By asking this question, you're provided with insight into both the person's academic and professional experience. Asking this question identifies some of their responsibilities at previous places of employment, and you may find you have some academic or professional experience in common.
Example: "I loved my experience obtaining an undergraduate and a graduate degree, but my professional experience has provided me with on-the-job training that is both priceless and unique. In my current job, though, I have much more responsibility than I did during internships. I manage several employees and work as a team leader when we have big projects. I was fortunate to have an excellent education. That being said, only on-the-job experience fully prepared me."
4. How do you work toward your goals at work?
Asking this question establishes other professionals' goals and their priorities. When trying to build connections and professional relationships, listen to their unique strategies behind working toward their goals. This is an excellent opportunity to get ideas for developing your own career.
Example: "I work toward my goals by writing both my short-term and long-term goals down. From there, I make sure to do two things every day that help me accomplish those goals. If I want to be more efficient, for example, I turn off my phone during my shift and invest in ergonomic office furniture or supplies."
5. How did your career path change over time?
Everyone has a vision for their ultimate career path. Identifying how someone's career path changes over time opens the conversation to wider topics and allows you to build a connection with the professional .
Example: "When I first started my education, I wanted to become a journalist. Over time, however, I discovered a passion for marketing. I applied for another program and completed an internship, and it's been a linear journey ever since. While I originally thought I could start off in the position I wanted right away, I quickly discovered that I had to get an entry-level job first and work my way up."
6. How do you hope to advance your career?
This question opens the discussion to determine whether the other professional is planning to stay at their place of employment and whether their department is expanding. If their department is expanding, they may discuss their own promotion and career advancement opportunities.
Example: "I'm really satisfied with where I am right now. In the future, I may change my mind or decide to move up within the company. Luckily, my employer is open to employees advancing. If the opportunity ever presented itself for me to get a better job or to have a higher salary, I would take it. That being said, I'm not actively looking for anything."
7. Does your job allow for autonomy?
This question allows a professional to talk about themselves and elaborate on their daily responsibilities. By asking this question, you also show an interest in the other person's skills and in their overall career.
Example: "My supervisor has always been very understanding and knows our team members prefer not to be micromanaged. That's why we assign tasks and responsibilities at team meetings according to priority and our team members' skills. By having a hands-off approach, our supervisor ensures we're in charge of our own work and motivates us. Everyone needs their work done on time to make sure other team members have what they need to complete the next stage on time."
Related: How to Motivate Employees
8. What's the best part of your job?
By asking this, you determine whether the person shares your values and priorities. Moreover, it provides you with insight into what the person's job entails and whether they're happy in their position.
Example: "I'd say the best part of my job is my clients. As a social worker, you sometimes have to reject a client's services or give them bad news. That being said, making a positive change in a client's life is irreplaceable. In my role, I've been able to help clients find jobs, homes, and reconnect with their family. Performing interventions and providing clients with the tools necessary to navigate their lives is incredibly rewarding."
9. How do you expect the industry to change in the next five years?
This question opens the discussion to the person's experience in their niche and which observations they've made about the industry. They may discuss automation and technical advancements within the industry, or how the target audience may change.
Example: "I've noticed that the industry is shifting more toward digital inventions. Considering the recent climate, psychologists are doing a lot of consultations online, and many of the other psychologists at my practice are starting to do the same."
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