By: Wilma Slenders
Have you heard of entry interviews?
I’m not talking about the traditional interviews where potential employees are asked about their skills and abilities to assess them for fit in the organization. I’m talking about discussions with new hires during the onboarding process where they are asked for their insights, perceptions and beliefs about the company. This can include what the company is known for, what it can do better, and how to address and potentially resolve ongoing issues in day-to-day business.
Typically, people are only asked for insights about the organization when in exit interviews, which only take place when the individual resigns from the company. Exit interviews usually include questions about what precipitated the decision to leave, and ideas on improvements that the organization can implement so that other good people don’t leave. It’s always an awkward process. If the individual is truthful, it is a gift. But more likely, IF the individual decides to participate in an exit interview, any observations will be bland, so as not to burn any bridges – either reputational or for future employment. It seems strange to ask about what could have been better at the end of one’s tenure. At this point, the individual no longer has a vested interest in the organization and any changes made in the future no longer matter. Rather than waiting for individuals to exit the company to hear about their ideas for improvement, why not ask them when they join! After all, we know that within six months of joining an organization, individuals become aculturated. Engaging with the organization’s culture is critical to becoming a part of the team, but it typically spells death for provocative thinking, unless the organization actively promotes, encourages and expects it. Adopting this process will bring a fresh perspective that will not be colored by the new hires’ experiences within the organization.
Asking an individual to provide perspectives on, and co-create, the environment that they will work in is a powerful process. It shows that the organization is open to change, wants its employees to give their best, and that it values their views from the first day at the organization, rather than valuing those views when the employee has decided to leave. It starts the relationship off on a positive note.
Some questions that you might ask during an entry interview include:
- What are the challenges that you believe our company is facing and what types of actions do you think we should take to address them?
- What do you think is our company’s perception in the marketplace? What makes you say that?
- If the perception is poor, what can we do to improve it?
- If it is positive, how can we maintain and improve this even more?
- What are your ideas about what is important in an organization’s culture?
- What are you expecting from the leaders of this company?
- What are key elements of reward and recognition that are important to you?
- How will you contribute to the organization?
What are some other questions that you could ask during an entry interview?