GET BETTER AT NETWORKING!
At Harrison Careers, we devote a great deal of our time to helping our clients figure out how to network as effectively as possible.
This article contains advice on how to help you unleash the Power of Networking!
We want to keep this advice simple – and what could be more simple than a great list of questions you can ask just about anyone you are networking with?!
The more they talk, the more you learn.
And the more they tell you about themselves, the more they like you.
We have advised thousands of candidates about networking, and based on their feedback, have come to this general conclusion:
“If the professional talks to you for 15 minutes or more, they are probably quite willing to help you further with your job search. If they talk to you for 10 minutes or less, they are probably not going to help you.”
HERE ARE SOME CLASSIC QUESTIONS YOU CAN ASK
- Did you always know you wanted to work in [specify business area]?
- Which firm did you work for first, and was it easy to get your first job? Did you do anything different from other candidates?
- How did you decide to work at [current employer]?
- Do you think the companies you have worked at have been quite different, or is it really the case that the firms are not so different?
- Where did you go to university/college, and what did you study? [express surprise if they did not study something directly relevant to their job, and maybe ask them some follow-up questions here].
- How does someone like me learn the technical skills that you need to join the team as an analyst [or trainee or other, depending upon which business area the professional works in].
- What annoys you about junior analysts like me, and what things particularly impress you?!
- Can I ask what the high point of your career was so far?
- Do you still get the same buzz from work now that you did when you first started?
- How did you manage to convince the first company you worked for that they should hire you? Was there any secret ingredient?!
- Did you do anything special that got you promoted faster than you might otherwise have been? I am sure you worked hard, but I guess there must be more to it than that…
- I guess everyone makes mistakes sometimes. How serious is it if you make a big error? Would you get fired?
- How many weekends do you work, and what does a typical weekend involve for you? Are you passionate about any sports?
- This is a bit of an oddball question, but does your partner or wife/husband like your career?!
- Do you have children, and would you advise them to follow the same career path as you? [This is your opportunity to get really personal. Hopefully they confirm if they have children, and then you ask what age they are, schooling etc.? You are trying to get them into a conversation about their kids. Most people are prepared to talk about their kids if they think you are genuinely interested. This is an awesome way to get close to them very quickly. Note that you have to ask them quite a few other questions before you get as personal as this.]
- I have another trivial question. Is it best to live close to the office? Do you commute or live outside of [London/NYC/Hong Kong]? [Here is another opportunity to get personal. Maybe they will tell you about their commute. Maybe they tell you they live outside the city and you will ask whether it is much better to be near some open country, and they will mention something about walking or the beautiful scenery or whatever. You get the idea. You are just trying to get more details about their personal life, and you are taking notes on everything they say so you can use this to follow up later.]
You should also have 5 great technical questions to ask about their business area. But be ready not to ask these technical questions if you are getting lots of great personal information from them. You will be far better at building the relationship by talking about personal stuff than you will if you only talk about technical stuff. However, if you do ask technical questions, this would be the finishing touch to show the professional that you have some knowledge about the business.
At Harrison Careers, we spend all our time helping clients get and pass interviews with elite companies. Get In Touch to let us know how we can help you!