What’s the best question to ask in an interview? How can you be certain you get the whole story from someone you are interviewing?
I have a top tip to share with you.
I realised when I was a Journalist that when I ended an interview, people would often say: “Oh I thought you were going to ask me about X” and then mention something that would radically alter my angle, change the whole meaning or even be a better story altogether.
So I started experimenting with the wording of a question that would allow me to not miss anything. I’ve used it constantly for nearly 20 years and it has revealed hidden stories, additional context and even some exclusives.
I shared it with a client this week who encouraged me to blog about it. Do you want to know what it is? Ok, here goes…
“Is there anything else you think I should know or you want to tell me?”
Short and sweet. But it gives the person you’re interviewing permission to add detail and say what they really want to say. People often only answer the questions you pose, and if you don’t give them a chance to add what’s on their mind, you’ll leave that encounter without hearing it. I use it on the phone and via emails too.
I’ve used it in Focus Groups with clients’ employees, with CEOs, in job interviews, with people I mentor, even with my six-year-old daughter.
As a result of asking it while I was in-house, I uncovered local office moves in another country that I’d known nothing about, a fantastic story of an employee with 40 years’ service and many more snippets of information which I then developed into content or stories.
Try it. Let me know what you hear when you ask it.
Do you use something else? What’s your top question for getting to the heart of the matter and ensuring you draw out the whole story?
As ever, you’re welcome to comment below or you can find me on Twitter @AllthingsIC.
Do you want to see it in action?
Here are some examples of where I’ve used it on the All Things IC blog – look at the answers it generated, it’s information that hadn’t cropped up before asking it, because it hadn’t fitted or wasn’t what I’d been asking. However, it adds additional value and is relevant.
- What you need to know before applying for a Comms job – published March 2018.
- A beginner’s guide to personal branding – published November 2017. (I edited the wording slightly but had asked it as written above).
Post author: Rachel Miller
First published on the All Things IC blog 18 December 2018.