ICF Tip #7 — Ask (Good) Questions

Tomorrow is the big day! Starting at 12:30pm, ending at 4:30pm, in the HUB Ballrooms, iSchool students only for the first hour, etc. We’ll allow students to start forming a line at noon — make sure to pick up your name tag in the Student Services office (MGH 420) by 5:00pm today if you haven’t already.

Our last ICF tip before the fair is to ask good questions of employers. The benefits of asking good questions are threefold. First, it helps keep the conversation going. As Janet Matta outlined in her Don’t Be Awkward presentation, in one-on-one conversations, allowing the other person time to speak about their own experiences can help make the discourse more fluid, especially if you’re not particularly outgoing yourself. Additionally, showing interest in someone else’s story is a good way of making a positive impression on them.

Second, good questions provide useful information. It’s not every day you get face time with current employees from places you’d like to work — use the time to find out things that will help your application and give insight into how well you’d like the work environment.

Third, asking targeted questions will demonstrate you’ve done your research on a company, which has its own benefits — namely, showing the recruiter your strong work ethic.

Below, we’ve outlined some specific questions you might consider asking:

  1. What particular skills or qualifications does [company name] look for in prospective employees/interns?
  2. Are there certain courses you suggest taking to strengthen an application?
  3. Could you outline the interview and hiring process at your company?
  4. What has your experience been at [company name]?
  5. How did you end up working at [company name]?
  6. I read about [company initiative, new product, etc.] online. Could you tell me more about that?
  7. I saw on the career fair app that your company is hiring for [position title]. Could you tell me more about the day-to-day for this role?
  8. In your opinion, what sets your company apart from others in the industry?

A quick final note on what not to ask. Avoid questions that can be quickly answered with a visit to the company’s website — those will have the opposite effect of reflecting strong work ethic. And don’t use ICF to ask about salary or benefits, topics that are appropriate once you’ve secured a formal interview.

Good luck tomorrow and be on the lookout for our last tip, coming in Thursday’s newsletter. We’ll cover how to successfully follow up with the recruiters you meet.

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