Because onboarding doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It’s not a lecture; it’s a conversation.
Asking the right questions during onboarding gathers vital feedback, so you can make tweaks for the next new hire. It helps you understand how else you can empower new hires’ performance and cultural integration. And it surfaces any issues before they become engagement drains and turnover risk factors.
So, without further ado...
Here are the 82 questions you should ask new hires during onboarding
(OK, OK, you don’t have to ask all 82 questions. But this shows the scope of what you could ask, and the areas you should cover. Tweak to fit.)
After they accept the job
Now is the best time to ask new hires questions about your recruitment process, while it’s still fresh in their mind. Their feedback helps you build a best-in-class candidate experience.
Enable anonymity for more honest, constructive criticism. And ask open-ended questions, so you’re not (mis)leading answers.
How did you find the application process?
What would you say about our recruiters?
How does our recruitment process compare to other businesses'?
How did you find the interview process?
What would you say about your interviewers?
How well did you feel we explained the role?
What did we do best?
What could we most improve?
Plus they can help you understand what you’re doing right – and perhaps, wrong – with your employer brand. So you can double-down on your strengths and improve any focus areas.
How/where did you hear about us?
Why did you ultimately decide to join us?
What was most off-putting about us?
What was most exciting about us?
Pre-start is also the best time to ask questions about new hires’ hopes and expectations for the coming months. You could then use that insight to personalise the onboarding experience. Or at the least, to sensitively manage their expectations if they’re unrealistic.
What are you most excited about during your first three months?
What are you most nervous about during your first three months?
Is there anything you’d love us to know before you start?
After their first day
Last year, we wrote our hugely popular piece on the 82 questions new hires wish you’d answer.First day nerves featured heavily, so now’s the time to ask questions to check you’ve handled this hotspot effectively.
You don’t want to overload new hires with questions here, but asking how things went shows you care. And helps spot any weak points in your onboarding process so you can quickly take action.
Ask questions like:
How did your first day go?
How prepared did you feel?
What else could we have done?
What did we do well?
What questions haven’t we answered?
That last question is an excellent way to make sure you haven’t left your new hires hanging. Especially with questions they might be embarrassed to come right out and ask. Like… how holiday works, what happens if they get sick, or when they get paid, for example.
And if you’re using Talmundo to streamline your onboarding journey, our AI assistant can automatically direct them to the answer or escalate to someone who can help. So you nip unanswered questions in the bud.
After their first week
After their first week, your new hires will have formed a solid first impression of your business. A first impression that’ll be difficult to budge if it’s not a good one (that’s why you’ve been asking all these questions during onboarding so far, to help make the experience positive).
So now’s a great time to dig into those first impressions. New hires can hold a mirror up to your business, so you can see your strengths and weaknesses with unusual clarity.
How do your first impressions compare to your expectations?
Now is also a good time to check you’ve delivered all the organizational stuff your new hires need to succeed (that’s the first prong of onboarding).
Do you feel you have everything you need?
What else could we provide, to help you better settle in?
Or instead of asking open-ended questions here, you could format questions as a speedy checklist. Like:
Have you been given….:
- An organizational hierarchy - Important contact details - Crucial equipment - Systems log-ins and passwords - Bookmarks for important online info - Our company policies - Etc
That’s most relevant if you’re trying to manage all the moving parts involved in onboarding without an onboarding tool. If you’re using onboarding software, you can set workflows to automatically deliver all that stuff, so you are certain that new hires have what they need and when.
After a new hires’ first week is also a great time to check their initial training has been on point. With questions like:
How confident are you using the systems you need in your role?
How confident are you with the processes you need in your role?
How would you describe the training you’ve had?
What do you need to know more about?
After their first month
By now your new hires have started to settle down, integrate into the business and dig into their workload. So ask questions to check they’ve got everything they need to be maximally productive and engaged.
First, the social prong of onboarding. This aspect of onboarding is where you help new hires integrate into the business, build their cross-department network, make friends and start to feel they belong.
How well do our organizational values align with your own values?
What else could we do to help you feel your work is
After three months
Around now, onboarding is coming to an end. Which means it’s an ideal time to get new hires’ (or not so new hires’, now) feedback on your onboarding program.
How did you find our onboarding program?
What did we do best?
What could we do better?
What was missing?
What was overkill?
What do you wish you’d known when you started?
Plus, you want employees’ feedback on their experiences during their first three months. Ask new hires questions like this to help surface performance issues, training gaps or engagement risk factors. So you can make changes before productivity and retention suffer.
And you could ask questions that help you better understand the anatomy of your workforce. You could even give recognition and rewards, if that ties into your culture.
Who’s your closest work colleague?
What are their best qualities?
Who do you most admire in the business and why?
Who outside your team do you approach for help?
Who deserves special commendation and why?
At the three-month mark, new hires should have a robust understanding of the role and your culture – one that goes beyond first impressions. So now’s a great time to check cultureboarding has gone well. (Read more: Cultureboarding – why you need to ride the wave)
Plus new hires’ unique perspective can fuel your marketing efforts. You never know who’ll come out with a gem about your business.
How does the reality of the role compare to your expectations?
How does the reality of working here compare to your expectations?
What change would you love to see, about working here?
Describe our culture in a nutshell?
And finally, if you’ve done everything right your new hires should be well on their way to becoming brand evangelists. Capitalise by asking for referrals and testimonials (testimonials which you could then ask them to post straight to review sites like Glassdoor – fantastic for your employer brand).
Who’s the best engineer/writer/account manager you know?
Do you feel confident ‘selling’ our company to outsiders?
What would you say to other people considering joining us?
And WOO! You’ve done it. Successfully nurtured your newest hire through your onboarding program and they’re fast becoming an integrated, effective and hyper-engaged employee.
Just don’t stop there.
Employee development shouldn’t fall off a cliff, but slope gently into your usual development processes. You should keep asking questions – not only during onboarding but at every checkpoint beyond.