NEW online masterclasses launched - Explore how you can learn with me online. Click to find out more >

The best question to ask in an interview

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.

Rachel

Post author: Rachel Miller

First published on the All Things IC blog 18 December 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Sarah Lazenby says:

    Hi Rachel

    Absolutely agree it’s a great question and one I have also used during and since my journalism days. It’s amazing how just using it can unleash the real story. All sorts of interesting nuggets can spill out. In my own experience they range from a woman with a new baby in her arms who told me at the end of the interview (once I had asked the question) this was her 12th child; and some petrol station employees who ad libbed they’d been held up at gunpoint during a robbery the week before (having told me ‘nothing much happens around here’.

  2. Sam says:

    Always a good one to finish on. Another technique I learnt from my journo days was to keep quiet – people always feel the need to fill a silence and sometimes you can get some great little nuggets of info from it. (Not sure how well that works in the corporate environment when people are looking to you for answers though…!)

  3. Thank you for your comment Sam, yes indeed, great tip!

  4. Hi Sarah, it’s good to hear from you. Can’t beat those interesting nuggets! That 12th baby one is a corker 🙂

Submit a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

How can I help?

I help practitioners around the globe increase their knowledge of internal communication.

There’s a variety of ways I can support you including trainingconsultancy and mentoring to boost your skills and confidence.

Or visit my shop to see everything I offer.

Who has hired All Things IC?

Clients say working with me leaves them feeling inspired, motivated, full of ideas and ready to turn plans into action.

I’m proud to have been invited to work with, and advise, some of the world’s leading brands.

Get in touch...

Would you like to work together? Do you have a query for me? Do get in touch below. You can also book a free 15-minute call this way.