The #1 Winning Interview Question (and it’s only one word!)

There must be thousands of “how to” books on Amazon or at your favorite book store on interviewing with great advice on what to say, what to ask, what kind of strategy to use.

I’d like to think that these books are well researched and sincere but let’s be real for minute and realize that most of these books have fancy covers and catchy titles but they say the same thing over and over again.


If you are an employer, you obviously want to know every possible thing there is to know to make an informed decision whether or not to hire the candidate sitting in front of you.   Success is key.

Of course you will have dozens of questions and follow up questions.  You will then possibly have another member of your staff interview this person.  It’s your duty to your organization and yourself to fire away at as many questions that you need to make the best possible decision.

But it all boils down to one question.  And that question comes after a request. 

The request should go something like this: “Please tell me your story- your personal and professional story that has led you to this moment.”

When you hear someone tell their story, you learn so much if you just sit back and listen.  Observe the decisions that they have made.

This of course is a “set up” to asking the #1 Winning Interview Question: “why?” 

Asking “why” throughout an interview not only gives you concrete answers but in so doing it can serve to clarify the intangibles that a candidate possesses such as integrity, grit, determination, loyalty. 

Asking “why” is the most effective question to uncover the decisions that we all make in our life journey and the thinking that went behind those decisions.  Were the reasons rational and legitimate?

Put yourself in the candidate’s shoes and decipher if you would have made similar life decisions.  If not, then “why”?

Any questions or comments? I am Bernie Reifkind, CEO and founder of Premier Search, Inc.  I can be reached at 1(800) 801-1400 or email at