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Forty Questions to Ask When Networking

Are you trying to build your network of contacts?  Are you trying to expand your circle of friends and business associates?  Maybe you have found yourself at a point that you’re looking for a new career.  Networking is your answer and we have great material to get you started!


Hopefully you’ve recognized the benefits of networking to improve your current and future business.  To network effectively you will want to set up face-to-face meetings with an array of people from various walks of life.  The old saying “it’s all in who you know” is very true when it comes to networking, and it will benefit you greatly to have a wide field of contacts to go to. But, setting up a meeting is just the first step.

Questions When Networking

Preparing an agenda before each meeting will maximize your efforts by focusing your time, as well as providing some direction for next steps.  You will also want to have a good list of questions that are tailored your personal situation and speaking style.  Here are some suggested questions that may be helpful to you in formulating your own, but make sure you don’t try to get to all of them! You want to use your time – and that of your contact’s – wisely.

Building a Broad Network

  1. What goals do you have for your business?
  2. Is there a way someone with my background and experience could help your company meet those goals?
  3. What three professions would be most helpful to you in your work?
  4. What background and/or personality do you look for when you’re hiring?
  5. What kind of contacts do I have that might help you?
  6. Who do you know that works in my current line of business (or any of my target fields)?
  7. What organizations or associations do you know of that are in my field?

What Work Is Like in My Target Field

  1. Could you describe a typical workday?
  2. What’s your dream job? Is it in your current organization?
  3. How often do you work past 6pm and on weekends?
  4. What has challenged you the most about your job?
  5. Despite these challenges, what motivates you to remain? What do you find most enjoyable?
  6. If you could start all over again, would you change your career path in any way? Why?
  7. How did you choose this industry to have your career in?
  8. How did you get your job?

State of the Industry

  1. Is this field growing?
  2. Can you name other people you know in this industry?  If I contact them, may I use your name; or would you be willing to set up a meeting?
  3. What developments on the horizon could affect future opportunities?
  4. This Industry has changed in the past five years. What have you seen from inside your company?
  5. Who are the most important people in the Industry today?
  6. Which companies have the best track record for promoting women and minorities?
  7. Are there opportunities for self-employment in your field? Where?
  8. If I wanted to pursue self-employment in this Industry how would you recommend I get started?

Money and Advancement

  1. What would be my earnings potential if I entered this field?
  2. How long does it take for managers to rise to the top?
  3. What personal attributes would I need to be considered for a more rapid advancement?
  4. What is the background of most senior-level executives?

Skills and Experience

  1. What educational preparation would you recommend for someone who wants to advance in this field?
  2. Are there other educational opportunities or certifications I should be looking for?
  3. What qualifications do you seek in a new hire?
  4. How often does your company hire externally?
  5. How do most people enter this profession?
  6. Which of my skills are strong compared to other job hunters in this field?
  7. What are good entry level positions in this field?
  8. What do you think of the experience I’ve had so far? For what types of positions would it qualify me?
  9. What companies might be interested in hiring someone with my background?

Fitting In

  1. Considering my background, how well do you think I would fit in this company and/or profession?
  2. What other companies do you know of for which you think I would be a good fit?
  3. Considering all the people you’ve met in your line of work, what personal attributes are essential for success?
  4. Taking into account my skills, education, and experience, what other career paths would you suggest I explore before making a final decision?

Above all you want to remember to be an interested, attentive, and respectful listener.  Your network will only be as strong as the people you know, and you want the people you meet to feel confident that they can refer you to a friend or business associate!  Keep a journal of your meetings, take notes, write down important names, etc., and that way when the times comes you’re ready with a prosperous network of contacts.

If you have contacted Centennial because of our history of providing quality executive search services, we encourage you to regularly keep in contact with your network. Those people are of tremendous value for your career today and the future.