The life of those without a permanent partner can be difficult, but settling for just anyone is not necessarily a good way to go through life. Finding the right person means searching until they appear, and then keeping them from leaving again is the goal. It might seem old-fashioned to wine and dine them, but consideration for a partner is what will keep that magical person from wandering away. Communication is part of the key to keeping them, but taking the time to get to really know them is what will be impressive.
Asking a series of questions is always a good way to get information, but dates should never feel like an interrogation. Dissection should only be done in a laboratory, so studying a person closely is also something that should be avoided. It might appear that there is no good compromise in this situation, but listening to the other person talk is a good way to get answers without constant questioning. For those who want to learn without dissecting someone, observation is a good method.
Those who are serious about forming a relationship will take the time to note what the person really says, and they could consider doing a bit of learning before the next date. If their potential partner says they work in a commercial kitchen, a few minutes online can furnish a wealth of information about cooking careers. It might not quite narrow the information down to what the other person does exactly, but knowing a bit more can lead to better conversation.
Exploring possibilities with others is a good way to find a compatible person, but they need to stay around long enough to find them. Taking the time to get to know a person means using questions in conjunction with other resources, and that work could eventually pay off with a long term relationship that is very successful for both partners.