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Your "go to" questions when interviewing potential hires?
Curious what questions you use when interviewing candidates for a startup (aside from the techical/role-specific questions)?
One of the best ways to build high-functioning teams is that you must interview well and understand the behavior behind the interview. To build a team for a startup you need to vet harder and deeper on both soft and tangible skills.
There are four things I want to know about a candidate before I present them to a client or make them an offer:
- Skills: do they have the skills, knowledge, and experience to do the work you need today and in the future?
- Behavior: will they behave in a way that benefits the team and helps it grow?
- Culture: will they be a good fit for the company's culture and/or do they have they have the personality you want to define the culture?
- Desire: do they want to be on this team at this company, doing this work (Why? Initiative? Risk tolerance? What's their motivation?)
My all-time favorite question is:
Who was your was/is your manager at [last company on resume]? And, on a scale from 1-10, with ten being highest, how do you think [manager's name] would rate your performance? Why?
And, What would have made it a 10?
Rather than the over-used "What are your strengths and weaknesses" question, this type of question gets a much more candid result.
My research shows that candidates who list anything below an 8 tend to be a greater hiring risk than candidates who say 8, 9 or 10. For one reason or another, this usually implies tough times ahead. A good response to this question is one in which the candidate does't hesitate to give you their boss's name. In fact, great candidates will often say something like:
"My boss, Jim, has actually offered to be a reference for me if you'd like me to send it to you after our call."
I tend to ask a lot of questions around flexibility and team building. At the end of the day, most start-ups pivot. Having a cohesive team that can adapt (and accept change) has always been central.
Here are some of the important questions I like to ask at RECSOLU for people that will be on my team:
- After a long-week at work, what woud your ideal Friday night be?
- Tell me about a time when you disagreed with a management decision, and what steps you took.
- What are your favorite comedy movies of all time?
- When you are given an ambigious task from senior management, what are the next steps you would take to accomplish the task?