Using They Ask, You Answer as a hiring and onboarding methodology?

Posted September 23, 2021 in
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Connor DeLaney

"If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original."

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I was thinking about the idea of using the They Ask, You Answer methodology to create a stronger and more efficient hiring/onboarding process and the impact it could have. 

Here's how I see it playing out:

The potential new hire is framed as the SME. 

During the hiring process, we're regularly asking and answering questions between us and them, similar to a content manager interviewing an SME about a specific topic. You go in with knowledge and insight into what you are looking to hire for, and they bring a skillset or approach to fill that. 

This back and forth allows us to better gauge if someone is a good fit to work for our company at all, let alone the role they'd be in. So, how can we speed this process up? 
  1. Craft your job descriptions to include commonly asked questions or specific ones you've heard or even been asked in the past. This could include an FAQs section or even full-length content. 
  2. Create an article/video/webpage about the expectations of working at your company to support answering those commonly asked questions about working for your company or about the role you are in. This could include linking out to other articles or courses from IMPACT+ and other sources to help explain the role further too.

Once they get hired, you have the opportunity to do the same thing again, but from the other side of the table. Now that they're on your team, do regular check-ins with that new team member to learn what you got right in the hiring process, what they would've liked to have known more about before taking the job, etc. to help you craft a stronger and more efficient hiring process. 

At the same time, as they're onboarding and get started, create content or resources to showcase how they should get started, what they should expect, and again, what common questions or issues new hires run into and how to solve them.

This allows that new hire to educate themselves (vs you handholding them) plus they can ask new questions that you can then begin answering as well! 

I'd love to hear how others may be using They Ask, You Answer in their hiring or onboarding process. I can't help but feel like this only scratches the surface but it's making me look at how others orchestrate hiring and how much wasted time is there answering some of the same questions over and over from every candidate!
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Brenda Schermerhorn
I'm super interested in hearing how others have or are working to incorporate TAYA into the hiring/onboarding process as well! 
Connor DeLaney
Kendall Guinn , I know you've done this really well in particular. Do you have resources we can share with Brenda Schermerhorn that could act as inspiration? Ruben Aguirre and Keven Ellison you'd shared some thoughts as well here during our conversation a couple weeks ago in the mastermind. 

I know some quick wins for this are having an FAQ section in the job description that address concerns or thoughts candidates may be having when applying for jobs as well as things they may not be thinking about. Another is to regularly be asking candidates, whether they get the job or not, what they wish they knew going into the interview process. While you won't answer everything, you should be able to address some pain points that you may not have intended that could help a candidate come better prepared next time! 

Also, Carolyn Edgecomb anything we do in particular at IMPACT that are really unique?
Brenda Schermerhorn
Thank you for rallying the troops for me  Connor DeLaney ! I would love to connect w/ any of you that have some insight into this. We are piloting the They Ask You Answer methodology in one small group in sales in our company right now, but rollout to the rest of the company (especially recruiting) is not going to happen for a while. So I need some quick wins we can start doing now (similar to your suggestions, Connor) while we work to develop a larger strategy. Thanks again!
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Kendall Guinn
We did start to to take a TAYA approach to onboarding new hires at my old firm, AQUILA. Here are some of the videos we produced specifically for intern onboarding. I don't have access to the intranet anymore but we had these embedded into some webpages that gave you an order of how to watch them. 

One of the videos on the list was sent after they got their offer letter. Another was sent before their first day. The rest were meant to watch once they were started! 

https://aquilacommercial.wistia.com/projects/pl0oeewzgo

We only had just gotten started. Happy to answer any questions you have about what we did! 

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