5 Questions Every Manager Should Ask Their New Hires

June 22, 2015

Successfully onboarding a new hire is critical for any company. The faster a person can get up-to-speed, the faster they can start meaningfully contributing and returning the investment the company put into them.

And, there’s one simple thing every hiring manager can do to make onboarding a great experience - take the new hire for casual coffee meetings throughout their first 90 days. In these meetings, the manager can ask the five following questions to find out two crucial things: how to you can improve the new hire’s integration into the company and how you can improve your onboarding process next time.

1. Is the job/team/company what you expected?

This is actually a question that is more about the hiring process than the onboarding process.

The goal for the recruiter and the hiring manager during the hiring process should be to paint as realistic a view as possible of the position, so people have a full understanding of what they are walking into. This ensures the right people are attracted to and ultimately get the job that’s offered.

If a new hire says the job they are hired for is different from the job they thought they accepted, it’s a major red flag. Hopefully, the answer to this question is yes, but if it isn’t, it’s definitely worth looking into what you’re doing wrong during the hiring process.

2. Is anything about your role, the team or company still unclear?

The purpose of onboarding is to make the employee feel like they are part of the company, understand their role, and learn how they can be successful. So, if a month or two in they still don’t understand things about the team or the company, it’s an opportunity to give them some valuable information, while also remembering to explain things more clearly during future onboardings.

3. As your manager, what specifically can I do to make your transition easier?

The key to this question is it’s actionable. By asking for specific action items, you’re far more likely to get a helpful response.

You can use this list to help out the new hire and future hires. And, it also shows your commitment to working with them to improve their own performance.

4. What are you enjoying most about your role?

Be sure to bring up a positive topic by asking the new hire what they enjoy about the role.

Once you know what the person enjoys (which is usually also what they are good at), you can start evolving the role around their strengths. After all, many companies jobs are rarely set in stone – if there is something the new employee excels at, it makes sense to let them do more of it.

5. Do you feel like you know your co-workers well?

Collaboration is critical in today’s business world – it’s the engine that drives eloquent solutions to complex problems. Of course, it’s hard for someone to be collaborative if they don’t know or feel uncomfortable around their colleagues, so it’s worth making a real effort to introduce new hires to the people around them.

Some people are more introverted than others and take a longer time to open up. Don’t feel like you have to rush it, as all you’ll do is make them more uncomfortable.

But, what does make sense is giving new hires the opportunity to come out of their shell. You can do this by bringing them into discussions during team meetings and setting up lunches with people they should form relationships with.

Final thought

The first few months of any new job is often a stressful time for an employee, as they try to adjust to a new role and make a good impression on their new colleagues. The problem is, most new hires are reticent to cite what they need to thrive, as they can see it as looking weak or complaining.

By having casual meetings with new hires and asking them these five questions, you get a better understanding of what they need to excel. That drastically reduces the amount of time it takes them to start really showcasing the skills you hired them for.

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