Funnelling Technique in Interviewing

Reproduced from our ready-to-deliver Recruitment Interviewing course and Appraisal Skills

Feel free to circulate as e-learning to your staff.

Questioning the T.E.D. way
  • Management Skills

"Who questions much, shall learn much, and retain much""

Francis Bacon

Any type of interview is an opportunity to get information. The funelling technique is a communication process to help ensure:

However there is another way using TED:

  • the right type of questons are asked
  • detailed responses are given
  • accurate notes of the responses are captured

Funnelling is a 3 stage process:

1. Open
Ask an open question. These can start with the 5 W's and the H (What; Why; When; Who; Where; How) or using T.E.D. (Tell; Explain; Describe).

For example:

  • Tell us how you produced that report
  • Tell me about something that went well this year

  • Explain what the customer said when they phoned
  • Explain your idea for improving the system
  • Describe a difficult problem you have solved at work
  • Describe the customer's attitude when they came in this morning

2. Probe
Probe to get the nuggets of detail from the interviewee to funnel the responses into useful information.

3. Close
Close by summarising and confirming i.e. summarise back what you understand from the interviewee's responses and confirm that you have got it right. This often allows the interviewee to add further detail they have missed out and it checks the interviewer's listening skills.

For example, interviewing someone for a customer service vacancy:

1. Open
"Tell me about the last time you dealt with an irate customer"

2. Probe:
Depending on the interviewee's response, follow up by asking questions such as:

  • "Who else was there? What was their part?"
  • "Why was he so annoyed?"
  • "How did you calm the customer down?"
  • "What exactly did you say to him?"
  • "What was his reaction?"
  • "What was the effect?"
  • "Who else was involved?"
  • "How long did it take to resolve the situation?"
  • "How did you arrive at an outcome?"
  • "What did you learn from the situation?"

3. Close
"So just to summarise, this customer was annoyed because ............and to deal with this you ........ Have I got that right?"

The funnelling technique has applications for a range of situations: customer service; appraisals; recruitment interviewing; performance counselling; coaching; disciplinarys etc. It's an effective communication process to promote the best possible outcomes.

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