A Career Day Panel is a great way for students to hear from diverse business people about their jobs, career paths, education, and skills required to be successful. It also allows the students to connect what they are learning in school and how it may apply in “the real world.” And if you’re lucky, it might actually inspire students to pursue a specific direction or to connect with a potential mentor!
While we didn’t tell the student and faculty panel moderators precisely what to ask, we did provide them some “starter” questions for the panel. Here are my top 45 potential career day panel questions. You will not ask them all, but perhaps they might provide some inspiration as you develop your own list.
Career Panel Questions
What is your current position and how did school prepare you for your career?
Why did you choose this job?
How many years have you been in that position and at the same organization?
Did you know you were going to be doing this job when you were our age?
What skills and/or talents do you need to do well at your job?
How many different types of jobs are there in your field of work? What are they?
Are there many openings for your type of job or is it difficult to find a position?
What future do you see for the job market in this career? What trends do you see developing over the next few years?
What do you like best about your job? What is the most satisfying part about your job? What aspects are most appealing?
What are some things you don’t like about your job? Least appealing?
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve had to face in this position?
Why are you willing to come here today and speak with us?
Career Panel Questions that Beg for Specifics
Prior School Life:
What was the most important thing you got out of high school that has helped you now?
What were your favorite classes in school? Which ones do you think are most useful and helped you prepare for your career?
What [high school] class did you think was a waste of time that you realize now was valuable?
If you could have done something differently in [high] school, what would it have been?
What [high] school activity taught you skills that are valuable to you now?
Current Position and Responsibilities:
If you could change something about your job, what would it be?
Are the challenges of your job mainly physical, mental, or emotional?
What job would you choose if you didn’t do what you do now?
What level of education, training, certifications, or licenses are required for entry into this kind of work?
What type of prior experience is necessary?
What skills are essential for success in this career? (Hard and soft skills)
Does your job change often? If so, how do you update your knowledge and skills?
How is your performance evaluated?
What kind of professional development opportunities are available?
Are promotions possible in your job and if so, what must you do for a promotion?
What is your typical day like?
Can you live and work anywhere or can your job be done only in certain places?
Do you work with other people or alone?
How much autonomy do you have in the work that you do?
What kind of supervision did you have when you were starting out? And now?
Do you have to travel for your job?
Are there any health hazards in your job?
Do you use any tools or equipment? Do you have to buy them yourself?
Do you have regular hours or can they change? How many days do you work each week? How many hours a day do you work?
Do you work in the evenings? Weekends? During vacation?
Do you get vacation time or personal days? How many days can you use and do you use?
Are there any limitations on your personal or social life because of your work?
How do you balance time between your career and your family?
What is the average entry-level salary? Salary progression?
Are you paid by the hour, a fee, a sales commission, or a salary?
Do you get overtime pay?
What benefits does your job offer?
Will you receive a pension when you retire?
Do you feel like you’re paid fairly for the amount of work you do?
Career Panel Questions about Application to the Audience
If I decided to pursue this career path, what advice would you give me?
What do you know now that you wish you knew during your time at school?
How would you recommend I “try out” this line of work (i.e. through a summer job, internship, volunteering…)?
How would you advise me to plan for my future?
A big thank you to Dr. Gonzales for her unflagging vision for a virtual career day, Judith Choe, and Yale University for inspiration in building this list of great questions for any kind of career day panel discussion!
For more information about how to moderate a lively & informative career panel discussion, check out our free 7-part video series on how to moderate a panel and other resources to help you organize, moderate, or be a panel member.
KRISTIN ARNOLD, MBA, CSP, CPF|Master has been facilitating meaningful conversations between executives and managers to make better decisions and achieve extraordinary results for 25+ years. She's a leading authority on moderating panel discussions and passionate about finding the perfect olive to complement a vodka martini.