Talent Acquisition

The 4-Step Who Interview Method

Discover the power of the Who interview method—a proven approach designed to help you identify and hire the best talent out there. This four-step process is more than just an interview; it’s a strategic framework enabling you to evaluate candidates and assemble a team of A players systematically.

What Is the Who Interview Method?

The WHO interview method dives deeper into the hiring process, going beyond resumes and accolades to focus on how candidates performed and collaborated in past roles.

It aims to uncover detailed insights about potential hires, emphasizing their problem-solving skills and teamwork abilities to ensure you bring on top performers.

The WHO in the WHO interview method stands for What, How, and Outcomes:

  • What: Understanding what the candidate did in specific situations.
  • How: Exploring how they approached and handled those situations.
  • Outcomes: Analyzing the results of their actions.

Focusing on these three aspects can help you better understand a candidate’s real-world experience and how it contributes to achieving outstanding results.

It’s a remarkably effective twist on the traditional structured interview process. The Who interview method helps to identify A players. These individuals have an impressive track record, making predicting their future performance easier.

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What Is an A Player?

An A player is a highly talented individual who performs exceptionally well and aligns perfectly with a company’s values.

These standout candidates have the right mix of personality and qualifications, making them well-equipped to deliver outstanding results and excel in different work environments.

Whether hiring your first employee or your hundredth, the Who method helps fill your team with A players who bring innovative and fresh ideas to your existing teams.

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4-Step Process for Using the Who Method

The Who method outlines a four-step process for finding A players.

1. Create a Scorecard

The first step before looking for candidates is to create a scorecard. A scorecard defines evaluation criteria and serves as a roadmap by outlining the skills, experiences, and attributes desired for the role. It includes different categories of questions tailored to the position.

Before each interview, reviewing your scorecard will help you stay aligned with your goals. A scorecard typically contains the following basics:

  • mission and purpose of the role
  • outputs, or goals, for the new hire to achieve
  • qualities the hire needs to succeed and fit in with the team
  • competencies needed for job performance
  • types of questions to ask 

The scorecard allows you to comment on and grade the candidate’s responses to each scripted question asked during the interview.

How Do You Calculate the Score?

You can use this scoring rubric to score candidate responses (1-5 scale):

  • 1 (Poor): Vague response with little detail; didn’t address the competency.
  • 2 (Fair): Some detail, but the response was not entirely relevant or lacked depth.
  • 3 (Good): Clear and relevant response, but could use more detail.
  • 4 (Very Good): Detailed and relevant response; demonstrated good understanding and application of the competency.
  • 5 (Excellent): Highly detailed and insightful response; demonstrated exceptional understanding and application of the competency.

Below is a sample scorecard with examples of qualities, competencies, and questions.

Sample Scorecard
Mission: Dynamic and results-driven sales professional who builds strong relationships, understands customer needs, and delivers exceptional service.

Desired Outputs: Exceed current sales targets and expand market reach.
Personal QualitiesCommentsScore (1-5)
Strong communication skills
Self-motivated
CompetenciesCommentsScore (1-5)
Market awareness
Networking abilities
Company QuestionsCommentsScore (1-5)
How do you align with our core values??
What do you like most about our company?
Skills QuestionsCommentsScore (1-5)
What are sales techniques you have used in the past?
Behavioral Fit QuestionCommentsScore (1-5)
How do you usually handle stress and high-pressure situations?
Tell me about a time when you faced an ethical dilemma in your sales role.
Situational QuestionsCommentsScore (1-5)
How would you handle a dissatisfied client considering switching to a competitor?
How would you handle negative client feedback and improve service?
Cultural Fit QuestionsCommentsScore (1-5)
How do you manage your time for a healthy work-life balance?
Describe a time you contributed to a team effort. How did you help the team reach their goal?
SCORE Total

“Ethically grading candidates means evaluating every applicant based on merit and objective criteria.”

– Shivani Puri, Wizehire VP of People Ops

2. Search for Candidates

With your scorecard in hand, it’s time to start searching for potential candidates. Even when there are no positions to fill, companies following the Who method make talent acquisition an ongoing process. An up-to-date applicant pool decreases hiring time and can help reduce the chance of making a bad hire. This is especially helpful for industries that experience high turnover rates.

Referrals are among the best ways to fill your applicant pool with A players. You can use personal networks, business networks, or employee referral programs to find talent vouched for by trusted sources. You can also use a platform like Wizehire to extend your reach with numerous job boards.

3. Perform Interviews

Once you have a pool of qualified candidates to sift through, the next step is to conduct interviews. The Who interview method suggests conducting five different types of interviews to evaluate each person.

Each type of interview requires an interview script to ensure candidates applying for the same role are asked identical questions to eliminate bias.

Phone interviews

They help hiring managers conduct a basic initial screening to filter through candidates and determine whether they want to proceed with the interview process. Types of phone interview questions to ask during a phone interview include: 

  • “Tell me about yourself.”
  • “Why do you want to work with this company?”
  • “What are your salary expectations?”

Who Interviews 

Typically conducted in person or via video, these interviews thoroughly review a person’s job performance history. Types of questions to ask during a “Who” interview include:

  • “What is your professional background in this type of role?”
  • “What similar projects have you completed in the past?”
  • “How do you approach team collaboration?”

Skill Interviews 

Measuring a candidate’s skill set is essential to determine how they will benefit the company. Types of questions to ask during a skill interview include:

  • “What software are you proficient in using?”
  • “What do you consider to be your three strongest skill sets?”
  • “What were your top responsibilities in your previous role?”

Compatibility Interviews 

This typically entails bringing the whole team together to meet the potential hire. Employees ask their own questions as a panel to gather insights into whether the candidate would fit in culturally.

Types of questions to ask during a compatibility interview include:

  • “How do you approach building relationships with new colleagues?”
  • “Explain a situation when you had to adapt to a new working environment?”
  • “How would you go about onboarding a new team member?”

Reference Interviews

These involve contacting the applicant’s references and inquiring about their past performances, strengths and weaknesses, and any challenges they faced.

Types of questions to ask during a reference interview include:

  • “What were the candidate’s biggest strengths and weaknesses when they worked for you?”
  • “How did the candidate help move projects forward?”
  • “If you could hire this person again, would you?

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4. Grade Candidates

You can calculate the total scores for each competency (set of questions) to get an overall score for the candidate. You can also calculate each competency separately to understand the candidate’s weaknesses and strengths better.

While scores are important, note the candidate’s enthusiasm for the role and other intangible qualities. This information can be a great tie-breaker when comparing two qualified A players.

Best Who Method Practices

Here are some best practices for fine-tuning your method to ensure you find those A players.

Embrace a “Growth Mindset”

Experience is important for most positions, but one of the main (often overlooked!) qualities to look for in candidates is a “growth mindset.” This means that the individual loves learning and can pivot.

Competency is not fixed, but the candidate should desire to grow and become an expert in their field, even if they are not 100% proficient yet.

Conduct Unbiased Interviews

Conducting similar interviews with all applicants using the same questions from your interview script helps you eliminate bias and form objective opinions. This way, no candidate is given an advantage or disadvantage due to differing questions that might favor specific backgrounds or experiences based on gender, race, age, etc. 

Remember, performance is the key factor relevant to the job, and a level playing field allows the candidate’s merit to shine through regardless of any unconscious bias. 

Be especially careful during the compatibility interview—since all team members are talking with the candidate, extra vigilance for unintentional bias will be necessary. Before conducting the compatibility interview, instruct team members on the types of questions they are or are not allowed to ask.

Use the 5 Fs to Secure Your A Player

When trying to find the best candidates for the position, you may need to share why your company is the best option for job seekers. Highlighting your employee value proposition to attract top talent is essential.

Many hiring managers focus on the five Fs—fit, family, freedom, fortune, and fun—to secure the best candidates. 

  • Fit refers to how well the candidate’s goals and values align with the position and company culture.
  • Family benefits range from job location to factors around work-life balance, such as paid vacation, maternity leave, or remote work.
  • Freedom plays into how much independence the employee will have in their work and how much or little management they should expect.
  • Fortune involves salary, bonuses, benefits, and other incentives.
  • Fun refers to a positive company culture and the teams, events, and environment that make up the workplace.

Wize Words

The WHO method goes beyond just interviewing and selecting a candidate—it creates engagement by using each interaction to uncover the candidate’s unique potential. With detailed questions and scorecards, you can tailor your approach to fit the needs and dynamics of each hiring scenario. The WHO method is a mindset that fosters connections and helps you make informed decisions to build a strong, qualified team of A players.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the methods of employee screening?

Employee screening helps you learn if the applicant is qualified to continue through the hiring process. This occurs after collecting resumes and helps you know which applicants to put into your pool of A players for interviews. Some employee screening methods include skill tests, phone screenings, social media screenings, video interviews, or trial assignments. Screening your candidates is an easy way to whittle your potential hires to only the most qualified ones.

What is the most popular method for employee selection?

The most popular method for employee selection is the structured interview, like the Who method. This approach involves asking all candidates the same predetermined questions, allowing for consistent evaluation and comparison. Structured interviews often include behavioral questions focusing on past experiences to predict future performance. This method enhances objectivity, reduces bias, and provides a standardized assessment of candidates’ skills, qualifications, and cultural fit.

Author

  • Anna Petron

    Anna Petron is a professional writer with several years of communication and brand storytelling experience across a spectrum of businesses. She's intrigued by trends that constantly shift and affect recruitment and workplace culture, and she provides practical solutions for organizations looking to enrich their internal structure.

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The article was reviewed by Deirdre Sullivan

Anna Petron

Anna Petron is a professional writer with several years of communication and brand storytelling experience across a spectrum of businesses. She's intrigued by trends that constantly shift and affect recruitment and workplace culture, and she provides practical solutions for organizations looking to enrich their internal structure.

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