Top 20 5S Interview Questions and Answers

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       Interviewing for a job is the most important phase in the life of an individual, picking the right answer at the time brings a new level of audacity in the individual.

    Hoping this brief write-up would be helpful for a glance before attending the interview. Let us look at questions that are frequently asked!

Table of Contents

 What is 5S?

    5S is considered as the Foundation for improving the activities in the workforce by creating a work environment that is safe, hygienic, satisfying, and well organized to help in reducing waste and increasing productivity. Keeping yourself updated with the current changes in the 5s course is very much important.  

Now looking at the 5s the ’S’ defines the 5 mottos put together to make a quality work environment both physically and mentally for its employee. The 5S are derived from the Japanese words.  

   A picture speaks more than words they say, hoping the above-mentioned picture is a self-explanatory logo of what 5s is about. Let us quickly look at the questions that are mostly asked when it comes to interviewing the candidates regarding 5s.  

Check out Henry Harvin’s 5S Course

The Methodologies of 5S

The 5S methodology is a process workflow that helps companies to improve their efficiency, eliminate waste, improve safety, and benefit the bottom line. 5S was introduced first in the year of 1970s, though many strategies followed by 5S go back in human history most people couldn’t give a proper explanation as to what 5S methodology is actually about.

The 5S’s

The name comes from the Japanese term but has since been translated into English.

  • Sort(Seiri)- Sorting all the unnecessary items from the workplace, placing the items either in the place that it needed or storing them in place of storage for future or removing it from the facility.
  • Straighten (Seiton) – After sorting all the essential items, a place needs to be assigned to each of them. This needs to be done in a way as to make each item as readily available as possible when required.
  •  Shine (Seiso)– The workplace should be kept as clean as possible along with proper maintenance of the substance be changing the lubricants, products if required.
  •  Standardize (Seiketsu)– All processes that are followed in the workplace should be standardized so that everyone follows the same procedure all the time. Following a similar process flow will help to cut down on the risk of defects and reduce the amount of time each task takes.
  •  Sustain (Shinsuketo)– Sustaining the changes made in the previous four steps requires proper planning and attention.

The Implementation Process for 5S

  Implementing the 5s in an already functioning industry takes a good amount of workload. Planning, executing, and implementing these changes to the company requires physical changes along with proper training given to the employees working in it and other partners to accept and work by the 5s methodology. Implementing the 5s require answering important questions before making changes in the organization like,

  •  Importance of Efficiency: 5s defines as the best example for improving workplace efficiency by putting things in the proper place and cutting down the time taken to look and transport the parts by ensuring things are done quickly and correctly.
  •   Safety of Workplace: Though cutting down on workplace accidents and injuries is crucial for all companies, 5s helps implement a very effective way of clearing the clutter from the workspace, keeping everything in order, and maintaining progress. Hence adding to a much safer work environment.
  •  Eliminating waste: Here 5s brings its best form by helping in eliminating the wastes that might be either from a faulty product or some other form of waste. 

 Basic 5S interview Questions and Answers

 Q1. What are the 5s terminologies?

       Answer: 5S terminologies is derived from the Japanese word

  • Sort(Seiri)
  • Straighten (Seiton)
  • Shine (Seiso)
  • Standardize (Seiketsu)
  • Sustain (Shinsuketo)

Q2. Who should be part of the implementation team? 

 Answer: The implementation team should contain the following people for implementing the 5S.

  •         Senior Management
  •         Middle Management
  •         Direct Supervisors
  •         Employees

Q3: Will implementing a 5S in a working environment be cost-effective?

Answer: Implementing the 5S in a working environment is not that of a cost-effective process, rather it helps in saving money in the long run. Since the process is available for more than a decade it has proven to be a well-planned procedure that helps in reducing the cost of an organization to a certain percentage.

Q4. In an organization, how does 5S go through in waste reduction?

Answer: When looking at 5S closely the main motto of it being to give a clean, clutter and hazel free work environment, 5S ensure that the team works towards producing the products that are defect-free, no delays in transporting the items, and also by not doing an overproduction of the product.

Aptitude Questions for 5S

Q1. Which is not one of the “Three F Standards” used to describe proper storage techniques?

  •         FIXED Authority
  •         FIXED Quantity
  •         FIXED Location
  •         FIXED Item

Q2. To “sweep” means to clean in a way as to identify and ________ the sources of contamination.

  •         cover-up
  •         temporarily fix
  •         ignore
  •         remove

Q3. “Where there is no standard, there can be no ________________.”

  •         Fun
  •         Production
  •         Defects
  •         Improvement

Q4: Is there a misconception that 5S is just a tool?

Answer:  Yes there is a misconception that 5S is only a tool. 5S is not only a tool, but it is a framework that works towards making a specific mindset and tools to create efficiency and value. Everything from cleanliness to organizing the items is looked at. 

Q5. The order in which the things can be sorted in a workflow are______________?

  •         Keep, remove probation, to move
  •         Remove, probation, keep, to move
  •         Probation, to move, remove, keep
  •         To move, remove, keep, probation

Q6: Choose the tools that play a major role in defining 5S at the workplace:

  •         Shadow boards
  •         Signal lights
  •         Labeling
  •         Sound Alarm

Q7: Is 6S the continuation of 5S or not:

  •         True
  •         False

Q8: Visual Markings play an important character in 5S?

  •         True
  •         False

Q9: In a construction site, employees focusing mainly on the tools that need to be used and methods that help in the reduction of the time would come under:

  •         Kaizen
  •         5S
  •         Six Sigma

Q10. What does Six Sigma performance Measurement involve?

  •         Following the correct process flow
  •         Average and variation computation
  •         Variation and derivation computation.

One on One Interview Questions of 5S

Q1.  Tell me about yourself?

Answer: When answering this question remember to add little details to this question like adding three or five strengths that are relevant to the job, and try to appraise in terms of time, money, or people. Lastly, Be confident and Sound confident even if you do not know the answer to be loyal enough to admit for the same

Q2. Do you have any previous experience working with 5S or Six Sigma?

Answer: Be relevant in giving an answer to this question and also make sure to add all the experiences you had working with the same, In case you have done a 5S course, make sure to mention that.

Q3: What are the forms of waste that can be described in Lean 5S?

Answer: Forms of waste that can normally be categorized when comes to 5S are

  •         Waiting time
  •         Excess inventory
  •         Overproduction
  •         Extra processing
  •         Unnecessary transportation
  •         Defecting items
  •         Unrecognized talents

Q4: What are the benefits you can get while using the 5S for the organization?

Answer: The 5S ensures in improving the workplace and making it easier to work on in long run. Below mentioned are some of the many benefits associated with the implementation and continuous usage of 5S.

  •         5S is a sub-part in the entire Lean philosophy.
  •         5S is simple to start and easy to be recognized by both employees and members of higher management.
  •         5S is a component of visual control that can recognize operational efficiency, create opportunities for abnormality detection.
  •         When a plan/vision is in place, employees know how to work effectively and work towards higher efficiency.
  •         5S creates better problem-solving skills and improves employee morale.
  •         5S works towards decreasing the number of workplace injuries

Q5: What are the major difference between 5S and Six sigma?

Answer: Because of procedures the 5S and Six Sigma both contain the word ’S’ in their names prominently people tend to think that both follow the same set of steps and procedure, whereas 5S and Six sigma follow two distinct strategies and procedures. There might be some overlap between 5S and Six Sigma, but they can work towards the same goal at times. For example, if Six Sigma is working towards clearing a particular defect in the production line, it will also help in clearing the clutter in that product when it comes with the defect, which is also the goal of 5S.

Q6: In case if you are appointed as 5S implementation team officer, what would be your first thing on the to-do list?

Answer: My first priority would be to study the process of implementation done by previous officers, understand it, and then get hands-on training on how to forego the job. Once I have learned and understood all the procedures of the organization, I would then go forward and see if there are any further changes required and start putting forth my ideas on making the workflow continue with ease.

Q7. What would you suggest would be your greatest strength?

Answer: Start with presenting the facts about the things you can offer when it comes to the job, avoid being superlatives and overselling yourself. Mention how it will help when it comes to the jobs and how it differs from other candidates.

Q8. Are you willing to relocate?

Answer: If you are okay with doing the same be upfront with the answer.

Q9. What are floor markings for in 5S?

Answer: Floor marking in 5S is used to make the job easier for employees to recognize the right objects that need to be placed at the right place. Visual markings can lead to products leading to their appropriate location.

Q10: Do you have a question for me?

Answer: Always remember to ask questions related to the job, as it shows how much you are interested in it and also in the organization you are going to work for.

Q11: How do you look at yourself in the next 5 Years?

Answer: This question needs to be answered wisely as the question is asked with the current organization you are attending the interview for.

Experience Level Questions.

A quick brush-up of the questions that might be asked based on the work experience.

Q1: What are the tools that could be used?

Answer: The following are the tools that can be used for implementing the 5S program

        Shadow Boards – helping to outline where the tools belong and allowing employees to quickly identify which tools are missing.

        Floor Markings – Available in various colors, sizes, strengths, thicknesses, and even shapes, floor markings ·         differentiable and easy to identity. They are best useful and helpful  tools in different types of work cultures such as offices, auto shops, healthcare facilities, manufacturing facilities, retail environments, etc.,

        Signs – The usage of signs for running an effective work environment is essential. Various kinds of signs can be found in a variety of Visual colors, shapes, and sizes and can be found with many different common text combinations.

        Labeling – in 5S labeling becomes a more important step in an effective organization, virtually anything can be labeled to help keep work areas organized.

        Industrial Printers – Using an industrial printer makes it easy, convenient, and cost-effective. Industrial printers can print an assortment of different sized labels using different colored inks and can be print on different types of label supplies.

Q2: Why does 5S fail sometimes?

Answer: When a company chooses to implement a 5S system they will get started with the best procedure and intention but everything goes sideways after a time when people lose their focus on 5S and it falls apart. Before implementing the 5S companies should make sure they can take steps to avoid common problems. Let’s have a glance at why 5s fails to work sometimes.


  •         Failing to get a proper buy-in from the top down will lead to failure over time. The 5S procedure requires proper commitment starting from front-line employees to the CEO or owner of the facility. A process started without commitment will lead to failure.
  •         Though the 5S is working well, not tracking the cost and benefits will lead to failure of the companies. Without proper tracking of the expenses done by the company, even the 5S would not be able to help an organization.
  •         For the projects to be run successfully long-term 5S requires real direction to be followed. Having a core group of people that manage the 5S strategies will help to maintain the focus of the project. If the same is done abruptly once the mistake is discovered would also lead to a very disorganized and ineffective workplace.

Q3: How can you simplify the sorting of things in a workflow?

Answer: In 5S sorting being the first step towards making the workplace better. There are three or four “bins” or sorting categories used when conducting a 5S sort.

Keep: Keeping the items used frequently and essentially accessible is crucial for the operation of the workplace. Sorting the things based on the frequent usage is important.

Remove: Removing all the unnecessary items that are occupying the space is important, either it should be placed in a bin or piled to be removed

Probation: Items placed in the pile or bin should be evaluated to check for theirs. A time frame should be set to check for the appropriate usage of the items. In this probation period based on the usage of the items, they can either be discarded or organized back into the workspace.

To Move: Items that are not needed often but should be kept on hands for times when they are required will need to be relocated. These items will be put in new homes in other stations or rooms that require these items.

 Q4. How can you start the 5S for an organization?

Answer: Starting to implement 5S is more crucial for its success. It should start with employee buy-in. Employee buy-in meaning they should be open, willing, and committed to taking the risk for adapting to the changes in the system.

Some tips to develop an employee buy-in include:

  •         Making the employees learn about the 5S.
  •         Making a visual representation by providing examples and educating the employees on success rate when it comes to 5S
  •         Providing insights about how the process works that help to remove some of the hindrances while running the process.

Throughout the employee buy-in process, many teams will work towards the success of the 5S by showing excitement and interest in discussions, while some would show the same towards the failure and hindrances that will happen with the new changes. However, once all the data are released, this would deliver as great insight and information will be gathered on how to best approach the team in the future. 

Q5: What is 5S housekeeping?

Answer: The 5S has proven to become a place of improvement for different kinds of workflow, it is named housekeeping as it needs to be done regularly. In fact,  among the 5S, the 5Th S being Sustain is about looking back and making sure that the steps that were made in the previous S are maintained long into the future.

It is named housekeeping because without proper cleaning a house would become dirty and fall into despair. In the same way, a place that doesn’t follow any form of 5S will find that any progress that was made will be lost over time. This also includes the employee taking shortcuts for completing the work which would lead to a loss in workflow and efficiency of the product.   

Tips for a Great Job interview

Since we are discussing interview questions hoping these tips would help you with a successful interview

  •         Firstly do basic research about the company you are attending the interview for.
  • Clarify why do u need this job by giving good selling points
  •         Prepare for some common questions like what would I respond with if they suggest I am not a good fit for the job, give a compelling answer.
  •         Be prepared with your set of questions as well, remember a good learner is the one who asks questions
  •         Ask questions about the organization, your kind of job.
  •         Remember to score in the first five minutes of the interview more.
  •         Close your interview on a positive note even if you get rejected. 


5S if implemented in an organization would assist in improving the work environment for the people and also will ensure that a safer environment is provided for the people working in it.

The work of employees has become safer, easier, and more clear as the employee are taught the 5S technologies and they work without any confusion regarding the same.

5S being available and implemented for over a decade has made jobs easier for many companies by making the company hazel-free and reducing the amount of waste produced in the company. Also with all the data recorded and decoded, employees being trained on the 5S methodologies has made the job easy in many organizations.

The 5S is also proven to reduce the cost in companies by a certain percentage making it easier for implementation.


What is the 5s methodology? 

The 5s methodology is derived from the Japanese definition sort, set in order, shine, standardize, sustain is the order of 5s methodology.

What are red tags in 5s? 

In 5s red tags are used in making the process of change going throughout the organization by naming all the items that are not required currently moved to create a safer and clutter-free workspace. 

Is it necessary to include employees in 5s?

In 5s low-level employees needs to be included as it might help make the workflow better. They are the people who will be in constant contact with the workflow and would be able to highlight even minor changes in the work. 

Would using 5S be more cost-effective?

Implementing the technology and making the technology work is not cost-effective as 5S. In return, 5S helps in making the projects save the money spent every year by aroun10-30% as per the studies.








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