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…. And What Else….

In New York delis, the kind where you belly up to a high counter, wait for your number to be called, and order some lox, they succeed wildly with the phrase “…and what else?”  You order ¼ pound of this, and ¼ pound of that, and you think you’re done, but they say “… and what else?” and you order more, leaving with twice what you came in for.  You end up with a full course meal and an empty wallet!  The key to this tactic on the part of the deli man is being confident that there is more on your mind (especially when you look into that case), and operating on the assumption that you WILL order more.

We have found that the “…and what else?” question works well in gathering information from customers and from job candidates.  When we are taking a job spec, we ask lots of questions that are open ended (who, what, why, where, when, how), like: “what are the key results you need from this person?”   After getting a response, we ask “…and what else” and magically, more information materializes; often, more important than what has already been said.

When we are interviewing a candidate, there are even more opportunities to use this question.  For example, when we ask “Why did you leave your last job”, the first reason stated is often not the most important.  Asking (sometimes several times)  “…and what else?” gets to the truth.  It is also useful in getting important positive info from a candidate.  “What did you like best about [an accomplishment]?”  gets the textbook, rehearsed answers (Being part of a team, getting a good outcome).  When we ask “…and what else?” the candidate will go deeper, describing what this accomplishment really meant to them.

So use the deli counter approach to information gathering in your work, and you will leave with much more than you thought you would get.