I’m what my mother called a “nosey parker”. I like to know what is going on and I am interested in people so I ask lots of questions (drives my son crazy). My career as a recruiter could not be more perfect for me. I have to ask lots of questions because I need lots of information to do my job!
However, it is important to ask appropriate questions to elicit the information you need. Which is where the “behavioral question” format was born. For all the old Xerox people reading this you will recall open probe, closed probe questions, same difference different decade.
If I ask you “do you enjoy your work”, I may get a yes, period. Not particularly helpful so instead I ask “tell me what you enjoy most about your work and why”. Next would be asking for examples, challenges etc. If I am talking to a customer, I can use the same format with some slight variations. “Tell me what you see as the keys to success in this role”.
The important thing is to get as much information as you can and to listen carefully to the answers. People will tell you more that they think if you question properly. Listening to journalists question leaders I can be twisted pretzel like waiting for them to get to the point. A long rambling question referencing “some people” (see previous blog post) or other anecdotal information does not encourage a clear answer because the recipient has lost track or dozed off or worse figured out a way to avoid answering.
Make your question as direct and open as possible, nosey parkers need the information!