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What are some of the best questions to ask in a one-on-one meeting when you are networking to change jobs?

Laurie Gray's Profile


(Senior Controller) |

That is a good question, Laurie and I will be interested to see the feedback that is shared. I've been in my current position for several years and am exploring a change. I've found that being direct has been effective in opening up a dialog. I've met people at conferences and other events and simply discussed my situation. I often follow that up with a question like "What types of opportunities are you seeing in the market?".

I will be following this thread closely. Thank you for opening the discussion.

Topic Expert
Mark Richards
Title: VP Operations and Finance
Company: VP / CFO - Private Company
(VP Operations and Finance, VP / CFO - Private Company) |


The ultimate goal is to get in front of the hiring manager or make sure they know you are there. A key benefit of networking is getting an 'advance' notice of opportunities through your network and being able to pursue opportunities before they go to formal search.

The first step is deciding where you want to end up - what position, etc. You should create a 'marketing plan' for yourself and a create a targeted company list (Please see resources below).

These are critical tools to give your networking direction (what's the end point of the journey) and helping others help you. Being generic in search is less effective, you need to give networking contacts something specific in order for them to act.

Completing these tools will also help you figure out with whom to network to get into the companies of interest.

To help you prepare for what to ask these people, you start with understanding how they can help you. Where do they sit in relation to the the hiring manager.

See the post below, Road map to the Hiring Manager, I found that people can help you in three ways: Connect, Learn or Influence.

Connectors - These are people who are affiliated with a company/industry, but do not have first hand knowledge - so your questions should be about who they know.

Learn - these are insiders, but generally outside your direct area of interest or company. The questions are directed at getting information about the company, their issues, hiring patterns, etc.

Influence - these are people in the hiring manager inner circle. They will each vary in their level of influence, but the questions will be about learning about the hiring manager's area, their style, issues to be solved, etc.

After you prepare the meeting (see below for Networking checklist), begin with considering where they sit on the Road map - you are more likely to ask them both questions and for actions that they can answer and fulfill, respectively.

As for questions, those will flow from what you need from each person. The more discovery you do, the better you'll know where to target your questions. For example, if a person is a member of a large networking group - you could focus your questions on who the key people are in the group (e.g. who are the influential people you want to meet).

Hope this gives you a good place to start.







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