Prompts for Meeting 1:1 with Student Employees

by Clare Creighton

One-on-one meetings (or 1:1s) is the shortcut term our department uses for meeting individually with someone, most often with a direct report or supervisor. Student employees meet with their supervisor in 1:1s at various frequencies throughout the year, and professional staff meet with their reporting line supervisor in 1:1s on a regular basis as well. I love thinking about how the questions we ask open up possibilities for different conversations. I asked the team what kind of prompts they use in their 1:1s with student employees and there were a lot of thematic similarities.

In these conversations, the question below is just a starting point, from there we can ask follow-up questions and unpack responses in detail. Some supervisors give their questions to the team member in advance, and not all questions make it into every conversation. Here’s a collection:

  1. How has this past [week, month, term] been?
  2. Tell me about a highlight from this past [week, month, term]. Or What do you feel like you’re doing particularly well?
  3. What challenges have you experienced/faced? Or What’s been challenging about your work?
  4. What is on your radar as you look ahead? What’s coming up?
  5. What skills do you want to further develop this term? What types of projects do you want to take on? What areas of development do you have in mind?
  6. In general, or specific to the projects and skills above, what kind of support would you like from me? What would be helpful this [week, month, term]?
  7. Here’s an upcoming project, change, or workflow ____. What role do you want to play in that project? What do you think your strengths or contributions might be?

These prompts strike me as useful in a range of conversations – in your own 1:1s or similar conversations. I’ll add one of my favorite prompts to the list as well, which is to ask folks, “what would you like me to ask you about/check in on when we meet next?”

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