Just recently I participated on a search committee to select a new non-profit executive director. It was both energizing and exhausting as I had to dust off and use my old HR interviewing skills.
As I went through this, I realized that many times when we go through a selection process, we end up hiring an individual that isn’t a good fit for the organization. The candidate may interview well, but once on board it becomes apparent this was not a good hire.
As I reflected on why this happens, it occurred to me that the root cause of any bad decision comes from asking the wrong questions.
Picture the first grader raising her hand and asking the teacher permission “Can I go to the bathroom?” and the teacher’s response, “I’m sure you can, but, yes, you MAY go to the bathroom.” If we don’t ask the right questions we won’t get the answers or results we are looking for.
- What questions do you ask employees and co-workers to see what support and help they need?
- What questions do you ask your customers to discover how you can serve them better?
- What questions do you ask to get to the root of a conflict or disagreement?
- What questions do you ask to find the truth in a situation?
Begin by thinking about the information you are trying to get, then structure your questions accordingly. Productive questions should be open-ended, high-gain questions. These are direct, but thought-provoking and invoke an emotional and honest response. And just as important as asking the right questions, is listening to the answers given.
Just like an interview process, if we ask the wrong questions with good responses we may end up with a bad selection that can cause irreversible damage to the organization.