How to answer "How do you approach networking and building professional relationships?" (with sample answers)

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This post is part of our series on behavioral interview questions.

Why Employers Ask This

Employers ask candidates how they approach networking and building professional relationships because they want to know whether the person is well-connected and can bring value to the company through their network. Employers are looking for candidates who have experience in building relationships with colleagues, clients, and partners that can benefit the company and lead to new opportunities. Additionally, employers want to evaluate whether the candidate will be able to build strong relationships within the company and work effectively with others to achieve shared goals.

How to Answer the Question

To answer this question, you need to convey that you understand the importance of networking in building professional relationships, and that you have experience doing so. Start by outlining your approach to networking, emphasizing that you have a proactive approach to building and nurturing relationships. You should also demonstrate your ability to develop and maintain strong relationships with colleagues, clients, and partners. Provide concrete examples of past experiences in which you have effectively networked and built relationships, sharing specific actions you took to establish these connections. Make sure to also talk about how you prioritize relationship-building in your professional life, and how you see it benefiting both yourself and the employer.

It’s also essential to be very specific about your networking approach and skills. Mention any networking tools and techniques you use, such as social media, industry events, professional associations, etc. Highlight how you research and prepare before attending networking events, as well as how you follow-up with contacts afterward. Finally, show that you are comfortable networking with individuals at all levels of an organization, and that you are adept at building relationships even with people outside your industry or area of expertise.

Sample answers

Good Answer: My approach to networking and building professional relationships is to focus on building genuine connections. I attend industry events and seminars to meet people with similar interests and goals, and take the time to learn about their work and what they are passionate about. I also aim to support them in any way I can, whether that be through sharing resources or offering advice. I find that by prioritizing the relationship itself, rather than just focusing on what someone can do for me, I am able to build lasting connections that benefit both parties.

Bad Answer: Networking is all about making connections and getting ahead, so I always make sure to attend as many events as possible and hand out business cards to anyone who will take them. I find that the more people I know, the more opportunities will come my way. I don't really care about forming genuine connections, I just want to build up my network.

Good Answer: I approach networking and building professional relationships as an opportunity to learn from others. I enjoy meeting people with different perspectives and experiences, and asking them questions about their work and what they have learned throughout their career. By actively listening and engaging in these types of conversations, I am able to build meaningful connections with people who can offer unique insight and advice.

Bad Answer: For me, networking is all about the exchange of business cards and pitching myself and my skills. I see every interaction as an opportunity to make a sale or secure a job, and I am always looking for ways to promote myself and my work. I don't really care about getting to know people on a personal level, I just want to use them to further my own career.

Good Answer: I believe that networking and building professional relationships is all about reciprocity. I try to help others as much as possible, whether that be through connecting them with someone in my network or offering to help out with a project. By being a valuable resource for others, I hope to build a network of people who are willing to do the same for me.

Bad Answer: I don't really have a specific approach to networking. I just try to be friendly and make connections wherever I can. I find that if you know enough people, something is bound to work out in your favor eventually.

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