Kickstarter questions for networking meetings
The 8 questions I keep in mind during an informational interview with design professionals
While the pandemic has reshaped how we connect, it seems as if more people are willing to hop on a Zoom call and help you out! A simple LinkedIn message or email with a brief introduction to yourself and a clear ask (i.e. “would you be willing to connect over a 20–30 minute Zoom call?”) has proven to be really effective in filling in the networking gap we are all experiencing.
I recently wrote an article outlining takeaways from the first round of interviews and I wanted to share the 8 questions I used to keep the conversation going.
1. How did you get into [UX/UI/Product] Design?
This is the greatest way to start the conversation! One thing I realized during this process is everyone has such diverse backgrounds in the product design field. Chances are, they’ll say really interesting things when talking about their background.
Take this chance to ask personalized questions.
2. How has your experience been working at [Company]?
Get the inside scoop! No job or company is perfect. There’s going to be benefits and pitfalls as with anything else. Now’s your time to pry a little bit and see what is and isn’t working at that company.
3. What is the structure like at [Company]?
Learn about the team dynamics. How do designers work with engineers/developers? Do they work on multiple projects at once? Do designers bounce around from team to team?
4. What projects are you currently working on?
What we see from companies are all their consumer facing products. Use this chance to understand what they do behind the scenes. You wouldn’t hear about these projects otherwise!
5. What design tools do you frequently use?
This question will also help you understand their workflow. They’ll explain the tools and why/how they use each of them.
6. How was the transition to a complete remote environment?
You may or may not get some inside knowledge with this question! It will be interesting to hear how they collaborate as a team remotely.
7. What are your favorite qualities in a designer?
This is by far my favorite question to ask! Especially when speaking to senior level designers. Soft skills are just as important as your technical skills.
8. Any advice you would give a designer in the job search/interview process?
You’ll get great answers from everyone you ask! If they are a part of the hiring process, they’ll let you know what stands out to them. If they are junior level, they’ll tell you the lessons they learned from their own experiences.
And that wraps it up!
While hosting an informational interview, try to make it more conversational and less like an interview. Listen to what they’re saying, take notes, and build questions off of the information they are giving you.
And more importantly, avoid those awkward silences! Be prepared with questions (like the ones above or your own) to keep the conversation moving forward. Be personable, be yourself, and try to make genuine connect.
Interior Designer transformed into UX/Product Designer. NJ transplant living in the Midwest. Has an affinity for dogs, spicy food and coffee shops.