Career Fair Preparation
Questions to Ask
Remember that your goal is to gather information, so prepare your questions in advance. Keep ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions to a minimum because they limit the information you will get. It is also a good idea to prioritize your questions so you can make sure that you have the opportunity to ask those that are most important to you. Following is a list of questions that may be useful to you.
General Questions About the Career Field:
- What are the various jobs available in this field?
- What is the employment outlook? How much demand is there for people in this career?
- What are the typical entry-level job titles and functions?
- What skills or personal characteristics do you feel contribute most to success in this industry?
- What entry-level jobs offer the best opportunities for learning?
Questions About the Employer:
- What products or services are in the development stage now?
- What kinds of assignments might I expect in the first six months/one year on the job?
- In what ways is a career with your company better than one with your competitors?
- Given the dynamics of the industry, how do you see the company evolving over the next five years?
- What types of training does your organization provide?
Questions About Your Contact’s Job:
- What specifically do you do? What are your duties and responsibilities?
- Describe some of most challenging situations you have faced in this job.
- What do you find most satisfying? Least satisfying?
- Which other departments, functional units, or levels do you regularly interact with?
- What projects have you worked on have been particularly interesting?
Questions About Preparation for the Career Field:
- What educational preparation do you recommend?
- Is prior experience necessary and, if so, what kind?
- If you were a college student again, what would you do differently to prepare for this job?
Questions About Your Contact’s Career Path:
- In what way did this type of work interest you and how did you get started?
- What jobs and experiences have led you to your present position?
- What are related jobs for which your background would prepare you?
- Where do you go from here in your career?
- If you could do it all over again, would you choose the same path for yourself? Why? What would you change?
Questions About Organizational Culture:
- What do you like most about this company?
- What kinds of behavior are rewarded?
- How would you describe the atmosphere at the company? Is it formal or more laid-back?
- What values are most treasured here; what is the company’s vision statement?
- How does the company recognize the contributions of outstanding employees?
Questions About Opportunities for Advancement:
- What are the advancement opportunities?
- How long does it take to move from one step to the next?
- What is the typical career path for someone in this field?
- Where could I expect to be in three years/ five years?
- What is the highest position that someone can hold in this career?
Seeking General Advice and Referrals:
- Do you know of other people whom I might contact who have jobs similar to yours?
- What do you wish you had known before you entered this field?
- What kinds of experience, paid or unpaid, would you encourage for anybody pursuing a career in this field?
- How would you assess the experience I’ve had so far in terms of the requirements for this field?
- If you were conducting a job search today, how would you go about it?
Questions You May Be Asked
In an information interview, it is not uncommon for your contact to reverse roles and ask questions of you. Following are some basic questions for which you should be prepared.
- Tell me about yourself.
- How did you become interested in this career field?
- What do you know about this field or about this organization?
- What skills can you bring to this field/job?
- What have you learned from your work experiences or coursework that leads you to this field?