Home > Alex, Core Business Skills, Uncategorized > Questions to ask a person whose job you are taking

Questions to ask a person whose job you are taking

If you are not joining an organisation through a graduate program or getting placed in a newly created position, then it means that you are taking over someone else’s job. Circumstances of the transition vary, perhaps the previous employee may have moved on to another position, another company, misbehaved or been demoted. But in a best case scenario, you have several face to face hours with this person and he/she is willing to answer any questions you may have about the position and the company. What questions would you ask?

In my opinion, it would be best to ask questions which will help you to settle into the new job quickly. If you have no previous experience in a similar position, it would probably be in your interest to read up on what the job entails and how it is conceptually performed. During the actual interview, this knowledge will allow you to identify and absorb more important information.  What is “more important information”? I personally think it falls into three categories: human connections, information sources, and status of current projects. As such, some of the questions you would ask could be: Who does the person interact with on the daily basis? What is his/her relationship with those people? Are there any people who proved to be very helpful  in the past? What databases did the person use? Does the incumbent have a corporate email address? Can you get an access to it or will emails get forwarded to you? What projects are currently in progress? What activities need follow up?

I would be delighted to hear some of your experiences of settling into new jobs. Please leave your comments below.


  1. May 25, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    Hey Alex… being a consultant I am constantly changing from one position to another, which means handing over and taking over to and from someone else. In my experience two other crucial things I would add to your list would be:

    – Where or from whom do I get information from? – Contact details of these people, and hopefully a personal introduction when possible; and, secondly and very important – especially when working with global/remote teams
    – Should I have any issues with the people I interact with (e.g receiving timely/reliable feedback), where are my points of escalation?. When possible having an up to date organisational chart would be great.


  2. May 28, 2012 at 12:02 am

    Thanks Juan!
    It actually never came to my mind, but you are quite right! Consultants have to adapt to new work conditions on ever engagement.

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