With 2016 Fall Career Fair upon us already, we’d like to share some helpful hints and conversation starters brainstormed by Dr. Marcus, to help spur productive dialogue for the fair and other outreach/networking opportunities. Some of these are rather “basic” — be sure you perform due diligence with preparatory research on companies hiring at tomorrow’s fair! — but all can help focus your thinking regarding what to ask about a firm in either research or conversation settings. 

Good hunting! ~WDW

Note: Do not use the words “weaknesses” or “problems.” Instead, use the word “challenges” where appropriate.  Also, consider using the word “role” or “position” instead of “job.”

Tell me about your company. / Tell me about your industry.

Tell me about your role in the company?

(Note also: Understand the difference between talking with a corporate recruiter and a hiring manager.  With a recruiter, the focus would be on the company and the positions that are being hired for, whereas with a hiring manager their personal experience would be a valuable discussion.)

What do you like about your role?

What do you see as the challenges of your role?

How did you get started working in this industry? Company?

What do you believe was most helpful to prepare you to work in this industry/company?

What do you see as the major goals of your company?

Where do you believe your company has its biggest opportunities?

What do you see as the major challenges in your industry?

What do you see as the major challenges your company is facing?

What kinds of changes do you see down the road in this business?

What kinds of changes do you believe are happening in your industry? Company?

What experiences or strengths are helpful for a person to have to be successful in this industry?

As to the person you hire for this position, where do you want them to be 1 or 2 years from now?

If a student, like me, was thinking of applying for a position with your company, what do you think would be the best way to prepare?

What does your company look for in a job applicant?

How do you feel a new hire for this position can help your company achieve its goals? Meet its challenges?

What do you believe are the advantages of student/recent graduate getting into this industry?

What kind of advice would you give to someone like me?

By Sander I. Marcus, Ph.D., CPRW
Career Development Consultant, Illinois Tech Career Services
3241 S. Federal (Hermann Hall), Suite 113, Chicago, IL 60616
312-567-3358, marcus@iit.edu

Questions to Ask Potential Employers and Firm Contacts