Attending a virtual career fair on Handshake will help you get an internship or job as employers focus on hiring students virtually. Virtual career fairs sessions are a great opportunity for you to connect with and learn more about the organizations hiring at your school. But how can you stand out to employers and make a great impression? One way is by showing up prepared and having thoughtful questions to ask. Here are some tips for prepping questions, and some examples to help get you started.
Learn about the employer
The first step is to do some research on the employer. Start by reading through their Handshake page, where you’ll get an overview of the organization, see student reviews, and check out the open jobs and internships. Then go through their company website and do an online search for recent news articles, press releases and other relevant information.
Spending some time before the session to learn more will pay off because it shows the employer your interest in their organization and in getting a job. It’ll also keep you from asking something that is easily found on their Handshake page or website. If you go the extra mile and demonstrate that you’re informed, the employer ambassador will definitely be impressed!
Create a list of questions
Now that you have more information, you can start writing your list of questions. Take time to think about what interests you the most about this employer. What do you want to learn more about? What qualities are important to you in a potential employer? What will help you decide if they are a good fit for you?
Make a list of your priorities and then fill in questions for each. It’s a good idea to have several questions for each session, in case some are answered by the employer before you have a chance to ask them.
When to ask a question
There are group and one-on-one sessions during virtual career fairs. If you’re attending a group session, make sure to wait for the host to announce that it’s time for questions. Depending on the session, you may have an opportunity to ask your question on video or type it into the chat. One-on-one sessions are an open conversation with the employer, so you should feel free to ask questions as you go.
Examples of questions
Here are a few examples of questions you can ask during virtual sessions. These are inspiration to help you get started. It’s important to tailor your questions depending on the type of session and your unique interests.
General employer questions
- How would you describe the culture of the organization?
- What is the office environment like? Is it formal or more casual?
- How does leadership promote diversity and inclusion within the organization?
- What support, initiatives, and/or training around diversity and inclusion are available to employees (i.e. employee resource groups, mentorship programs, leadership development)?
- Are there professional development opportunities?
- Does the organization encourage employees to pursue advanced degrees?
Questions about a specific team or job
- What does success look like in this role? On this team?
- How would you describe this team? The manager?
- What are the opportunities for growth in this role? On this team?
- Do managers encourage innovation and creativity?
- How do managers measure success for employees/interns?
Questions for one-on-one sessions
- What do you like most about working for [employer]?
- Do you participate in employee resource/social groups?
- What other teams do you work closely with?
- What is the best part of your job?