December 21, 2022 | Mark Paradies

Don’t Ask “Why” During an Interview

Why NOT Ask Why?

Some people teach the “5-Why” technique for root cause analysis as their preferred method to solve problems. If you read this blog, you’ve already been convinced that 5-Whys is, at best, a rudimentary technique with many inherent flaws. But you may not know that asking “Why?” during an investigation interview is a mistake.

Advanced Interviewing Training Answers the Why Not to Ask Why Question

On the second day of the 5-Day TapRooT® Advanced Root Cause Analysis Team Leader Course, we teach evidence collection and interviewing. We also teach a 2-Day Effective Interviewing & Evidence Collection Course with even more advanced material. The interviewing material in these courses highlights an advanced interviewing technique called “Cognitive Interviewing.”

Cognitive Interviewing helps the interviewee recall information they might have forgotten or thought too unimportant to share. The Cognitive Interviewing training in our course emphasizes that the interviewer should not ask the interviewee “Why?” during the interview.

Why not ask Why? Because the question elicits justifications from the interviewee rather than getting them to share additional information from their long-term memory. The “Why?” question is seen by the interviewee as accusatory (Why did you do that?) rather than a request for more information.

What should the interviewer do?

Cognitive Interviewing teaches a systematic process to get the interviewee to tell their story, recalling as much as they can from their long-term memory. It also teaches the interviewer to ask “What” and “How” questions to get additional information (instead of “Why?”).

Register for an Interviewing Course

To register for one of our public 5-Day TapRooT® Advanced Root Cause Analysis Team Leader Course, pick the course you choose at this LINK.

Or register for our upcoming public 2-Day Effective Interviewing & Evidence Collection Course at this LINK.

Don’t wait! These courses fill up fast. Register today.

Barb Carr teaching Interviewing

Interviewing & Evidence Collection
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