The benefits of networking aren’t much of a secret.
On top of helping you advance your career, networking is a great way to gain and share knowledge and build long-lasting relationships with professionals in your field.
That said, simply attending a networking event isn’t a recipe for success–if you’re just standing around and not talking to anyone, you’re basically just wasting your time.
That’s exactly why knowing what kind of questions to ask at a networking event is an essential step to getting the most out of the experience.
And, if you’re not sure what the right questions to ask at a networking event actually are, we’ve got you covered - so read on!
80 Questions to Ask at a Networking Event
To help you make sense of what the best questions to ask at networking events are for you, we’ve grouped them into the following categories:
- Career questions
- Education questions
- Work condition questions
- Industry questions
- Questions about position responsibilities
- Questions about diversity in the workplace
- Questions about the company culture
- Casual questions
#1. Career Questions
Whether you’re still choosing a career path, making a career change, or looking to advance your career, asking career-related questions at networking events is a great way to gain first-hand information from industry professionals!
As such, consider asking some of the following:
- How did you join this industry?
- What kind of education/training do you have?
- How can someone start working in this industry?
- What is something you wish someone had told you when you started your career?
- What’s the best skill to have to succeed in your career?
- What are people in your profession typically like?
- What challenges do you face in your career?
- What skills are the most important for your job?
- What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve faced in your career so far?
- Does this field typically offer internships?
- Where do you plan to take your career? What’s the next step in your career?
- How do you see this industry developing?
- If you could choose all over again, would you pick the same career path?
#2. Education Questions
Questions about a person’s education can help you gain more in-depth knowledge about a particular field and whether you’re on the right track to getting there.
So, especially if you’re a student or someone with not a lot of experience in the field, you can learn more by asking some of the following questions:
- Where did you go to school?
- What is your major/what degree do you have?
- Do you think your education helped you get where you are?
- Would you take any different classes if you were in college again?
- If you could tell your college self one thing, what would it be?
- What's the best degree to succeed in this field?
- How important do you think education is to succeed in this field?
- What’s the most important thing your education taught you?
- Are there some things in your field that your education didn’t prepare you for?
#3. Questions About Work Conditions
You might be interested in the working conditions at a particular company or, more generally, in the industry that you’re considering working in.
No matter the case, ask the following questions to get all the information that you need about work conditions:
- How many hours does your work week consist of?
- Do you have autonomy in terms of what you work on a daily basis?
- How is your performance evaluated?
- What kind of supervision did you have when you were just getting started? Is it different now?
- Are there any professional development opportunities available? What are they?
- What is your office like?
- Do you work from the office, remotely, or do you get to travel a lot?
- How would you describe the workplace atmosphere?
- Do you have a strategy and policies for managing working conditions?
- What’s your worker turnover? Do employees typically stay or leave?
#4. Industry Questions
Questions about a particular industry are especially beneficial if you’re looking to create lasting relations with other seasoned professionals in the field, who can later help you by giving you a CV reference, guidance, or advice.
Here are some industry-related questions you can ask at networking events:
- How do you think the industry will change in the short term? How about in the long term?
- What has changed most in this industry since you started?
- What are this industry’s top resources?
- What are the best skills to have for someone new to succeed in this industry?
- What do you wish you’d known about the industry before you started?
- What is the ceiling salary in this industry?
- What do you see as the major trends and issues in the industry today?
- Do you have any recommendations for a job-search strategy in this industry?
#5. Questions About Position Responsibilities
A company’s success largely depends on all employees understanding and completing their responsibilities.
As such, by asking the right questions about a position’s responsibilities you can both learn more and show that you’re a goal-oriented individual.
- What does a typical workday/week in your position look like?
- What do you enjoy the most/least about your job?
- What skills do you consider essential to succeed in this position?
- What is the biggest challenge you face in this position?
- What do you spend most of your time doing at work?
- If you could change one thing about your position, what would that be?
- Do you have autonomy in your position?
- What projects are you working on now in this position?
- Do your daily tasks change or remain the same?
- What are your primary job responsibilities?
- How much contact and what kinds of contact do you have with individuals or groups outside the company or the organization?
- What are the toughest responsibilities that you handle in this position?
- What would be a typical next career move for someone in your position?
#6. Questions About Diversity in the Workplace
Diversity in the workplace is beneficial to all employees, not just those belonging to underrepresented groups. Done right, it can facilitate your personal and professional growth and even improve productivity for the entire organization.
Asking any of the following questions while you’re on a job hunt can help you gain valuable insight into whether the company encourages diversity or not:
- Does your company ensure diversity in the workplace?
- Does your company/organization have a strategy in place to ensure diversity in the workplace?
- What is the split between men and women among your workers? How many women are there in management positions?
- What value does diversity bring to your company?
- What are you/your company doing to ensure everyone feels included?
- What diverse are higher levels of management?
- Are the company’s recruiting efforts supporting a diverse culture?
- Do employees receive diversity and inclusion training?
#7. Questions About the Company Culture
Inquiring about company culture is important because it can help you understand whether you’re really a good fit and will enjoy working for them. If you don’t, you might end up hating the company even if you love the job.
To gain insight into the company culture, ask the following questions:
- How large is your company?
- What is your company’s culture like?
- What are some (unique) challenges that your company is facing?
- What are your company’s main goals?
- Do you enjoy working for this company?
- What makes your company different/better than others?
- How long have you been with your company?
- Where is your company/organization headed in the following years?
#8. Casual Questions
All work and no play make Jack a dull boy. The same goes for networking.
To make professional networking a bit more fun, personal, and memorable, ask some of these casual questions to get to know those around you:
- What brings you here?
- What are you most excited about attending this event?
- What made you choose your field?
- Do you like what you do?
- What do you like doing outside of work?
- Where are you from?
- Is there anyone at this event you look forward to meeting?
- What professional associations or organizations are you a member of?
- Who else should I make sure to talk to at this event?
- What are you reading right now?
- How can I get in contact with you after this event?
- What books or journals do you recommend that I read?
5 Other Networking Resources
If you’ve made it this far, you already know why networking is important. Here are some other valuable resources to help you make the most out of your networking experiences:
- Top Networking Tips - Check our 9 top networking tips to help you grow your personal and professional network.
- Top Networking Skills You Must Have in 2022 - These 11+ networking skills will help you successfully take networking from theory to practice.
- How to Network on LinkedIn - LinkedIn is a great virtual networking tool, considering that 84% of people use it to strengthen their professional network. This article shows you how to do it right!
- Top Networking Benefits - Learn about the top 12 benefits of networking and how to best take advantage of them.
- Networking Email Subject Lines - The right networking email subject line is just as important as the right question when it comes to virtual networking. This article has over 65 subject lines you can use.
And that’s a wrap!
These 75+ questions to ask at a networking event should help you navigate the daunting world of networking.
You’ll be able to make new connections in the industry, learn new skills, and potentially even find your next job!