Business Startup

Interview – 5 questions to hire the right people

When starting new company or expanding the current, hiring new people become important part of the process. There are different philosophies you can follow. First, my favorite and personal choice, hire slow and fire fast. Second, hire fast to grow fast. In both cases you must have an interview – a system of questions that will help you decide whether to hire someone or not. Today, I want to share with you couple question examples and suggestions to help you create the interview for finding the perfect fit for your company.

Order of questions in an interview

The first thing you should know and understand, when it comes to creating an interview, is that the order of questions matter. For example, as you can see below, the first question is about favorite sport. Common question in some degree. However, the last question I suggest is asking that question again focusing only on team sports. These questions should not be consecutive. Do you know why? They can influence the answer. If you ask on sport first, and then on team sport, you are suggesting where your interest is – team sport, i.e. team spirit.

However, this is less damaging than asking for a favorite team sport and following up with a favorite sport in general. In this case, the person you are interviewing knows what answer do you want to hear and will probably modify her (or his) answer to suit it. This type of questions is called “leading questions”. They lead to result you want to hear by manipulation with person you talking to. You should avoid this type of question (yes, no) at all costs. Good Interview helps you find the true answers, not the ones you would love to hear.

One way I use this “team sport” question is to ask it in the end, just before saying goodbye. In other words, I suit it as “by the way” type of question that is not so important and it just came to mind. In most cases, this will keep the atmosphere more relax. It might sound like a social engineering and … Well, it is. Like it or not, important is to get to the opinions, ideas and motivations the person in front of you really has.

What are your favorite sports?

This question is good as an informal “opener”. Almost all of the questions for an interview below are, but they also have a purpose. This one too. Most of the sports are about competition, team spirit (team sports), will power, discipline, health and the desire for achievement. All of these attributes are great foundation for finding the perfect for your startup. The health is important too because you need someone who will work for your company for longer time. So, good health habits are plus.

Basically, what you are looking for I someone with drive, motivation, discipline and will power that will endure the toughest times. This can be often found in sport, just take a look at athletes. Sports also require the ability to adapt quickly to changes in an environment. As Charles Darwin said: “Only the most adaptive will survive.” Sorry Andy. However, I don’t suggest you to drive your employees to the point of exhaustion. People need to relax and have fun.

What are your favorite games?

Not everyone is fan of sport and there is a high probability that if you are a tech startup, couple of people you will interview will not be in a hurry to climb a mountain. For this reason, there is another question focused on games in general. There are no limits for this question. Be it video games, board games or whatever the person you are having an interview with might answer. Just remember to avoid asking leading questions. You can break this only in situation where applicant is helpless.

The main goal of this question is to understand more the motives for liking that one particular than the game itself. You want to get into the head of the applicant and the way he or she thinks. This will also help you to uncover the possible options of motivation this or that person might find appealing, which is much better than asking for it straightforward.

What are your favorite books?

Next question is one of my favorites, maybe because I am an avid reader. I believe that if you want to get to know someone, you should take a look at what he reads. Person’s library is another window into her mind. Before moving too far … You don’t need to pry for the titles. Some people may not want to tell you this. This might not be a huge problem, at least for now. Just ask for genre. That will do the job too, and if you will hire that person you can get to it later in more leisure situation.

Before we close this part … Don’t put any time constraints or limits on the question. I would even suggest doing the opposite move and going to childhood instead of recent time. In our childhood (twelve and younger) our preferences are less influenced by other people, so there is higher probability the applicant will go very deeply to what he really likes, from the core of his soul (or mind). Right after that go for the last read book. This can tell you where the person’s intentions and ambitions are headed.

What’s your why?

The final (almost – “Btw, team sport?”) question and most important question of the whole interview. In a fact, this is the question you were setting this theater for. What is your why? In other words, what do you want to achieve in your life? If you didn’t uncover the hidden motivation of the person in front of you yet, this is your moment. You can also change this question to “Why do you want to work for our company?” or to use both versions in the interview.

Listen carefully and watch the person’s body language, meticulously. You need to be certain. If you are not one hundred percent sure now, f … screw it. This person is not the right fit for you and your company.

Did you play any team sport?

Before leaving you lets quickly deal with the “team sport” question. Why is it so often used in an interview? People used and attracted to play team sports, whether on school or later in life, are more likely to be a good team players. They have team spirit ingrained in themselves. In case of most companies, this is one of the attributes you want and need to find in people when searching for employees – team spirit.

Summary

Since the future of the company will depend on the people you hire will you should not underestimate this part of business. Even though suggestions above are based on working on two startups (co-founder in one and Front-end Leader in second) they are not bulletproof. Sometimes you will have to reassess the decision you made and fire someone. That’s just a part of the business. Some people will fit perfectly while some will not.

What are your favorite questions that should be included in any interview?

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4 thoughts on “Interview – 5 questions to hire the right people”

  1. What about people who find sport mind-numbingly boring, but who like to do outdoor activities like climbing mountains, camping etc.

    They are in a hurry to climb a mountain but don’t give a shit about sports. Now you can’t tell if they are a team player or not.

    1. Any team player must be able to listen to other people, share his ideas and co-operate. He must be feel comfortable being among other people, at least for certain time span. However, this is hard to answer. Take introverted people for example. Even though they might avoid other people or bigger groups of people, they can be great team players and bring many ideas to the table. In short, team player must be able to listen, share, colaborate and help others when needed. Does this answered your question?

      1. Not really. Everything you said about a team player is correct. But your interview questions still don’t help you find out if someone is a team player if they take no interests in sports or games. And I feel these questions are unfair towards those people who are great at working in groups, but just don’t like sports or games, because they would rather spend their time doing something useful. And now a bunch of stupid managers are going to read this article, and then when they find out someone doesn’t like sports or games, they will just assume they are not a team player and not hire them.

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