How to Prepare Questions for the Winter Career Fair, With Examples

Tips for developing questions that will help you learn more about employers.

Guidance Provided By: The Handshake Team

Attending DePaul’s upcoming virtual Winter Career Fair (Feb 24) 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 DePaul students. 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?
For more tips, check out our guide to attending virtual career fairs.

Pave Your Own Career Path, Discover Your Interests with the Help of These Tips

By: Gina Anselmo, former career advisor for the DePaul University College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences 

Recently, I learned what a “desire path” is from a faculty colleague who is well versed in exploring the art of walking. A desire path refers to a natural path made by a walker or bicyclist as opposed to a path that already exists, like a sidewalk. It occurred to me that perhaps a desire path is the kind of path a College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (LAS) student is looking for in order to respond to some internal sleuthing of an “I know it when I see it” type of career. To pave your own desire path, you need to jump into exploratory resources that help you lay the foundation of what makes up your professional identity as well as explore sites of inspiration that help you investigate fit.

Here are a few exploratory resources and inspirational sites to help you discover your professional identity and interests, and to help you pave your own desire path.

What is your Primer? Developing your Professional Identity

Exploring elements of your professional identity can help you connect what you want to learn and do (interests), what motivates you (values), your strengths (skills), and your characteristics (personality), which will in turn uncover paths.

After you have identified terms that describe your interests, values, and skills, think about the following:

  • What themes can you identify in your reflection?
  • Can you start to see how these areas can be applied to different settings and professional roles?
  • Try to think of different career titles/settings that complement your interests
  • Can you identify action steps that would help you test out “fit” in the interests you identified?

Finding Your Buckets, Gathering More Language

ONET is a rock star, career exploration site that can help you uncover more connections between your professional identity and which occupations interest you the most.

Explore ONET through some of the following searches to discover occupations that link to a mash up of your interests:

  • Job Families
  • Interests (your top three)
  • Values Clusters
  • Skills Search

Food for Thought: Stories Sparking…More Stories

The following sites can help you find topics or stories that resonate with your professional self, and allow you to further uncover interest paths. You may also find stories from others who have likeminded interests.

  • Medium, a community of readers offering unique perspectives
  • Exposure, adventures and stories through a photographic lens
  • Ted Talks and more Ted Talks that inspire college students

People, Places and Positions

Sometimes uncovering interests will stem from learning about other people’s paths and stories. By exploring alumni profiles, you can uncover the paths that alumni have taken with the same major:

  • Search away on LinkedIn and explore the studies and career paths of alumni
  • Connect with the Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK) network to get assistance with finding alumni with the same major/minor or who are currently in a job or industry that interests you

Calling in Reinforcements – Work Place Culture

The vibe that an organization executes can set the tone for engagement, happiness, and satisfaction among professionals. It also goes hand-in-hand with identifying your work values. Here are two sites that can help you explore workplace settings and cultures and determine which environments you will thrive in.

Scavenger Hunt of Inspiration – Job Search Sites

The following sites might spark ideas of how your broad areas of interests could narrow to specialized areas, settings and professional roles:

  • Lumity npo.net, a job board of nonprofit and community service opportunities
  • Idealist, a platform where 118,600+ organizations post career opportunities
  • Chicago Artist Resource, a site providing artists with national and international resources
  • Back Door Jobs, a place to find summer jobs, internships, seasonal positions, volunteering opportunities and more
  • Indeed, a platform to discover fresh job listing

My Advice to You When Looking for Career Inspiration

Remember that many careers have more than one starting point. Every career can be unpacked to have many adaptations, which can lead to more career possibilities. Build on the foundation of what describes you and use a mash-up of your interests, values, and skills to continue to create the road you are looking for.


Are you interested in strengthening your understanding of professional interests? You can meet with a career advisor who specializes in supporting your college. You can also check out the Career Center’s online exploration resources and connect with the ASK network.