Conducting Effective Career Aspiration Discussions With Employees – Key Questions to Ask

One of the key steps to building an effective talent management and development solution is to ensure that talent in your organization is aware of what is being done to manage and develop it. It is also important for company leaders to recognize their personal career aspirations. This can be done through a Career Aspiration discussion. This should be a formal, focused conversation between the leader and the employee, centered on the employee's career aspirations as well as the potential growth rate that the employee can use within the organization.

The key to making this conversation most productive is a few key questions that leaders have to ask their employees and ask themselves. To prepare for a conversation, the leader must first ask himself the following questions and be ready to share this information with his employees during the conversation:

1. What does this individual's ultimate potential look like?

Responses should focus on the highest levels of confidence that you can reach leaders and inside the company, and the indicators you have (driving, willing, performing). They showed that they could get there.


This response should focus on additional training (perhaps leadership training or specific skills training) or development (perhaps an expanded leadership role or role in other functions. To reach this ultimate potential.

3. What do you think are their main strengths

This answer should be used to highlight the strengths they bring to the table and continue to grow their careers.


This answer is about short-term development goals, as opposed to those mentioned in Question 2. It may be something like "an additional elderly level of exposure is required." Others inside the company get to know this individual or "Presentation skills training is required."

5. What is this person's next assignment?

The answer here is to focus on the next realistic task and when it is likely to happen.

When you are sitting to talk to an employee, you need to set a time without being specifically disturbed for that person. Conversations are conducted interactively so that when a leader asks a question to an employee, he or she can refer to his or her own question and continue the discussion through discussion to keep it interactive.

It is recommended that you ask the following questions:

Questions about Employees

1. What is your short-term career aspiration? (Next assignment: 2-5 years)

2. What is the aspiration of a long-term career? (Ie, ultimate vocational goal – position level)

3. Do you know what you need to get there?

4. Are you willing to perform to reach that position?

5. What do you think is your core strength?

6. What is your core development area?

7. What are the actions and measures that can grow over the next 12 months in this area?

8. What do you want to do with your next assignment?

These conversations should be documented and performed at least annually. Some organizations work with employees every six months, but this is an effective, but recommended, yearly minimum. Conducting these discussions is an important step toward ensuring that organizations retain their influential talent management and development practices. Career Aspiration discuss not only informs employees where they are standing, but also speaks to them during development. It also enables leaders to differentiate resources and develop employees with the strongest desires and potentials to reach the highest positions in the company. You can also develop people who jump to the highest level but are truly technical subject matter experts. Developing talent in a differentiated way can give your company the best return.

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