You come to a new company and take on a new role or you take on a new project? How you plan a good handover was described in handover of a program in 6 phases. Now you are in a conversation with one of your new colleagues to determine where the shoe pinches or what needs to be tackled first. Since you will usually not only have an interview with a single colleague in order to have an overall view of the situation, it is advisable to conduct these interviews in a structured manner. For this purpose, I have collected a few questions over the years that are suitable for each interview and can raise interesting aspects.
How do I organise the interviews?
You should always differentiate between team-related and individual questions, because in the beginning it is easier to talk about the team or the overall situation than directly about your own sensitivities.
- Team or overall situation
- What is the biggest challenge we face right now or in the near future?
- Why are we facing this challenge?
- What are the most promising and untapped growth opportunities?
- What do we have to do to realise their potential?
- If she were me, what would you focus on?
- How satisfied with your task? In which direction do you want to continue?
- What do you expect from your job in the short / medium term?
- What do you expect from me?
- What are your strengths / what do you want to contribute to the team?
- Which work processes can be improved?
- What is the cooperation/productivity in the team/team atmosphere like?
- What do you / the team / the department need to perform better?
- Wishes to the genie in a bottle?
A question that often brings up ideas that have not yet been expressed is the question about the three wishes to the fairy. Specifically this means which 3 wishes would you put to the fairy in the given context. Surprising and often very helpful answers come up. These often round off the picture or bring out completely new aspects.
How do I ask?
If the flow of conversation comes to a standstill, you want to recognize a clear priority or you want to find something out more precisely, then the following questions are appropriate.
- Conversation fit
It is very important to find out whether something is depressing the other person and whether the conversation is not meaningful at the moment.
- Alternative or comparative questions
- What’s better: this or that? Either way? Here or there?
- If that, then what? If not so, by what means?
- Scaling questions: On a scale from 0 to 10, how do you deal with this situation?
- Determination of causes
If you believe that the mentioned cause or reason is not yet substantially addressed, then follow up like a small child with 5 times “Why? If you don’t dare to use them, the 5-Why-method is also popular with scientists.
Asking for the “why” can also reveal the reasons for the behaviour and the motivation of the behaviour.
- Paradoxical questions or worsening questions can help in the event that creative solutions are needed or a new perspective is to be adopted. Example is, what do I have to do to make the product a flop?
- Circular questions help to look at situations from different angles. For example, what would Mr Müller say?
- As an alternative to the genie in the bottle question, you can also place the wonder question: The initial situation is that, as if by magic, all problems have been solved and you ask what would be different, how do you know that the problem is gone, how did the cooperation change or which other question of change can be helpful?
Carry out such discussions immediately after entering the new role or task and, above all, regularly. This will keep you on the ball. If you want to record changes early on and across the entire workforce or the entire team, my contribution to team spirit and early indication is ideal. The questions are also a good basis for an employee interview.