Asking the Right Questions

Chris Young | January 15, 2018

Questions seek and often obtain answers. Asking the right questions at the right stage of your employment relationship can make the difference whether it is in the recruitment process, in employee development and retention or even after termination.

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The secret to a strong interview process really is in the questions. It’s ALL about the questions. So how can you improve your hiring process, increase employee engagement and find meaningful ways to recruit and retain employees? By asking the right questions at the right times. According to Better Team, asking standard versions of traditional interview questions continues to hold a value because the answers the candidates give may in fact reveal far more than was intended. How? Because the candidate’s body language, level of comfort in answering the questions or simply the depth and breadth of their answers can be revealing. Even the general “strength/weakness” questions can be seen as evoking significant information about the candidate.


Questions in the retention/development arena are designed to identify growth opportunities, evaluate job satisfaction and elicit information that can clearly show whether the right people have been put into the right roles. Inc. has identified and explored the importance of asking not only questions but of finding and exploring meaningful and purposeful ones. How are these different? Well, many employers may use a standardized “rate your satisfaction” scale to measure employees on their progress and goals, those measures are far too rigid to actually demonstrate any enlightening information. If you want to know what employees really think, you need to ask open-ended questions that challenge them. Simple fact-based questions on progress, status, achievements and such will only reflect the underlying facts. But creating a questioning process that delves into the mindset and feelings of the people working for you is a wholly different creature.


The exit interview may in fact be the most important opportunity to learn, grow and change as an organization to achieve employee satisfaction and increase the likelihood of actual change. What do you want to ask someone who has made the decision to leave? From your HR perspective, now is the time to find out about what they wanted and how the organization did not achieve those goals for them. Think of it as a break up with closure. Use the opportunity to investigate why and whether anything might have made them change their minds.

Simply the asking of questions can make a difference in every stage of your HR operation. Learning not only when to ask them but how to ask ones that are interactive and meaningful may be the best investment you and your HR team can make.


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