By Katie Roth

The interview process is as much about determining a candidate’s skillset as it is about their ability to effectively communicate. The challenge is to design questions that highlight star qualities and red flags alike. Ken Morrill, co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at, has used this as his only question over 200 times in the final interview:

“I want you to explain something to me. Pick any topic you want: a hobby you have, a book you’ve read, a project you worked on–anything. You’ll have just five minutes to explain it. At the beginning of the five minutes you shouldn’t assume anything about what I know, and at the end I should understand whatever is most important about this topic. During the five minutes, I might ask you some questions, and you can ask me questions. Take as much time as you want to think it through, and let me know when you want to start.”

This question can help differentiate between candidates who lack focus and those who can think things through. Morrill was surprised at how many candidates leapt right into their answers and how that usually was a bellwether for sloppy performance down the line. On the other hand, candidates who took time and gave a focused answer almost always excelled. Since the question is all about how they answer, Morrill suggests staying as neutral as possible – top recruits will asking if the interviewer is following along. The need for good communicators is critical to a team’s success.  Ask RC Search Group how we can help you identify candidates with strong communication skills!

The Build Network Staff. “The One Interview Question You Should Ask.”, Inc., 13 Feb. 2013,


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