The Art of Interviewing – These Tools Can be Your Best Friends!

imageInterviewing can be tricky. You may spend a good amount of time with a candidate and still feel that you hardly know the person. The problem could be on the either side. Maybe you’re not asking the right questions to elicit good response from the candidate, or the candidate may not be good at articulation. Either ways, the issue is related to communication.

So, how do you break this communication barrier? Here are two tools that can prove handy:

1.      The “5-Why” Principle

2.      The “Tell me more” Probe

Conversation Tool #1:

The “5-Why” Principle was devised by Toyota and is used to find out the root cause of a problem. The idea is to ask “why” multiple times, such that the answer to the first “why” forms the basis for the next “why,” and repeating it till you get to the underlying cause of the problem. It is believed that one can achieve this in 5 iterations.

You can use this principle in your everyday interview conversations to understand your candidate better. For example, use it when you want to know:

  • Why the person is looking out for a new job
  • Why the person has applied specifically for your organization
  • Why the person feels she is a good candidate for the role being offered

Just pick up one question at a time and keep asking the why-based follow up questions till you have got the desired answer.

Conversation Tool #2:

The “Tell me more” probe is when you ask the candidates to provide more details about something. It can be about a project, topic, person, or situation. This tool can help you get more clarity on the candidate’s answers, understand his underlying thought process, and also verify his claims.

Here are some of the “tell me more” variations that you may use:

  • Tell me more about it.
  • What exactly do you mean by XYZ?
  • Can you give me an example?

Try using the above more often and you’ll see yourself mastering the art.

Would love to hear your thoughts. Please share your comments in section below.

About the Author: Vineet Arora is the Chief Executive of TalentNiti, a boutique talent search company catering to IT, Hi-Tech, and Consulting/Research sectors. He can be reached at



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