Asking the right kinds of questions during recruitment events

You know you are supposed to ask questions to be noticed at recruiting event, but how do you know what are the right kind?  Let insight be your guide. Do your research about the industry, company and role, and then frame questions about where it guided you.  Start with authentically thinking what you are really curious about, then polish the delivery for professionalism.  

Taking this approach is a good way to solidify your professional reputation and signals your intellectual curiosity and commitment to learning more about the organization; it’s a great way to stand out in a crowded employment marketplace.  

As a business school student, there is an expectation that you will conduct initial research on a) the role (how will the person in this role spend their days, what is success, how is it measured, how does it contribute to the overall strategy of the organization), b) organization (where are they relative to their competitors, what is their differentiator in the marketplace, what is the current challenges, what’s the outlook), and c) industry (trends, players, forecasts).  

Doing this prior to an event will help you use this information to inform the questions you ask the employers. The event posting on Handshake, and any attached job descriptions, provide a baseline of information that employers expect you to know before entering the recruitment event. Annual reports, popular media and library resources will all help.  

A standard question that may be asked of a firm is: “Where do you see the company going in the next five years?”  An insightful version of this question will incorporate your research and look something like this: “Knowing the company’s stock price has been going up this last year and the shifting markets due to COVID have put a stronger emphasis on strategic marketing of your product, how do you see the firm evolving in the next five years?”

Note: Company events on Handshake will typically let you know if the company requires work authorization or is searching for an internship or full-time role; most firms will also mention this in their presentation prior to the Q&A beginning.  This is baseline knowledge that is easily accessible.  Asking the employer in person is a lost opportunity to demonstrate you are a serious professional.  

How to get ready?  Schedule an appointment in Handshake with your career coach to talk through whether or not the questions you’ve outlined are insightful and establish your credibility as an emerging business leader, and check out the resources below for more information.

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By W. P. Carey Career Services Center
W. P. Carey Career Services Center