There is a lot that you may know up front about them but there will always be some hidden truths that can only be found with careful questions.
Some good questions to ask your prospective partner:
What are your long-term professional goals?
Understanding your prospect’s long-term goals will shine a light on where they want to be in their career. You’ll know whether or not they have the same professional goals as you, and whether they put a lot of importance on career advancement itself, money, or something other than their career.
What are your short-term professional goals?
Short-term goals will tell you how motivated your prospect is about their career. If they don’t have any short-term goals for their professional life, they might be in a stage of life where they’d rather focus on something else, like family. It’s very different from the long-term professional goals question because it covers the changes your prospect wants to make in the near future, rather than the dreams for 10-15 years down the line.
What’s your one, five, and ten-year plan?
If your prospect makes a yearly plan for their life, they’re organized. Period. They know what they want from life and they are working on accomplishing it. Some people might answer the question with a simple, “I don’t know.” This either means that they are confused about their life or haven’t really thought about the future so far. Either way, you can decide on whether you want to be with an individual who takes each day as it is, without planning it, or if you want to move on to the next one. Remember, your partner’s lifestyle and personality will rub off on you.
How do you plan to accomplish these professional goals?
It’s all great if they have a plan set out for the next few years, but do they have a plan of attack? Are they going to do something to accomplish their goals? If not, they’re just dreams written on a piece of paper. Chances are that you’ll have to push him/her to make those dreams a reality. Are you ready to invest that much time and energy?
This is what I want to do, what are your thoughts?
This question will tell you a lot about their personality. Are they jealous? Envious? Pessimistic? Opportunistic? Are they going to get excited about the idea and in turn make you even more excited? Depending on the answer your prospect gives you, you’ll have an idea of how they will be in a relationship—whether they’ll push you toward your dreams or pull you back by being negative or “realistic.”
What have you accomplished in the last five years? Is it what you wanted to accomplish?
Five years is a lot of time for someone to change their life around. Heck, people change their life around in a matter of months sometimes, so imagine what they can do in five years! This is a great question to follow-up on the yearly plan question, since it will tell you whether or not they work on making their goals a reality. If they’ve accomplished what they wanted to accomplished in the last five years, chances are that they’ll do the same thing for the next five years. Being in a relationship with someone who’s motivated and determined to make their dreams a reality will most definitely have a good impact on your life and career.
What’s your morning routine like?
Someone’s morning routine says a lot about the type of person they are, since mornings determine how someone’s day will go about. If you get into a fight in the morning, your whole day will be ruined, but if you get into a fight in the evening, you get over it more quickly because you have less time to think about it. On the same note, if someone is very productive in the morning, it means that the person has a purpose and will work hard in accomplishing his/her goals as fast as possible.
Have you been in a long-term relationship with someone who was high in the corporate ladder? Why didn’t it work out?
Better to have a few glasses of wine before asking this question, since you want the real reason it didn’t work out. You want to find a way to get the truth out of him/her. By getting to the truth, you’ll know whether your prospect can handle a person who has ambitions and who has to deal with a lot of responsibilities at work. You’ll know whether he/she is the type of person to be envious or the type who will push you towards accomplishing your goals. Of course, I was kidding about the glasses of wine… or was I?
These questions will shine a light on the type of person you’re dealing with, and if they will influence your career positively or negatively. Not only will you get to know the person’s personality and ambitions on a deeper level, but you’ll also see if their personality and ambitions match yours.