First you ask a new person, "So what is it that you do?"
Then after they reply, you comment ...
* "That must be really tough sometimes."
** Good people who are sympathetic listeners, because they'll tell you about the hard parts.
* "How exciting!"
** Good if you excel at encouraging people.
* "That sounds like it has some interesting challenges.
** Good for problem-solvers.
What others can you think of that would clue what you're good at while encouraging a new acquaintance to talk about themselves?