Best Interview Questions to ask while recruiting for your startup, business or organization

startup interview questionsWhether you are Interviewing candidates for your company, project, charity or Startup you always tend to get mixed results. While some might seem more proficient in work, they might not score in academics. While some might answer almost all your questions confidently, you still have a hunch that this candidate might not be the right one for your startup?

Hunches and gut feels like these are common. Recruiting someone for your company is a responsible job. Not only will the candidate get paid by the organization, he will also form part of defining your organization’s or teams culture.

Its quite unfortunate to note that while the interviewee is always ready and arrives with his homework done; the interviewer on the other side (you) hardly do any homework before starting the interview. In this post we will analyze some nice interview questions that I ask along with my team to differentiate good candidates from the rest. Do note all these ninja techniques are not just mine, this is a process that evolved interviewing with other smart brains.

The Litmus Interview questions

I call all these interview questions as litmus questions. They easily show a red signal if something is fishy. Without much of a jab lets head over to what they are?

Hands on questions

How startup interview question

In case if you want to evaluate a candidate in under 15 minutes this question is your best bet. Normally interview questions are based on the knowledge the person has or the kind of work the person has done. Unfortunately both can be faked. You can learn much about the kind of questions asked and you can even make a fake story of your experience. The best bet then is to first ask a lighter question (where answer can be faked) then start drilling down the rabbit hole with a few hands on questions

In our interviews we often ask questions that software developers can easily crack based on a regular google search they might have done. The trick is if he reads such pages – So can I! Once I understand that the answer given matches quite well with what I read online I start digging deeper. 80% of the bozos get trapped in this because they dont get sense out of the answer they just mug up.

Think more question

These are the type of questions to ask people who are super clear with their basics. Every one knows simpler solutions that are assumed to be asked in an interview. Say a simple stuff like calculating the number of followers on twitter, or doing a bank transfer. Once they answer this, give them difficult or weird situations. Ask them to ‘Think more deeply’ to answer. These questions help gauge the analytical ability and creative prowess of the individual.

Be clear that you don’t expect them to answer the question precisely. What you do expect the candidate is to come up with as much options as possible.

Challenge thy ego question

Once I know that the candidate is quite good to get selected I add this torture. Ego bashing can be a fun game. See where the interviewee starts feeling uncomfortable. Where does he give up. Calculate his tenacity and wit at this level. Ask questions about his previous experience that actually tries to demean to some extent. How do they take this ? Tell them the solution they provided to questions you asked was outright foolish. See what to they do. Argue ? Give up? or Seek clarification?

In my industry more than aptitude, attitude is what matters the most.

What will you do type of questions

So the candidate seems to be a gem. Right knowledge, right attitude. However the problems at times is that either he/she is not aware of your industry or has the technical prowess developed in similar skills but a different domain. Here you can ask them questions about issues they will actually face once they are on board with you. Things like What will you do if….

Again this resemble to the think more options as discussed above, the question is intended to give him a feeler of how life would be once they come on board. It also makes you understand how life would be when the interviewee joins your team

What do you know about us – question (and what do you want to know about us questions)

Sample interview questionThis ones a very typical of what people ask. More than the interviewee, the interviewer is just killing time here. Do ask this question; but do listen to what they have to share. Its common sense that they will praise your startup, company or charity while answering this question. Ask them to reason this. Ask them to talk factual data. Note from where did he get the information ? Is he referring just common understanding available in the market ? Or is he digging into your companies financial docs ?

Another important thing is what does he want to know more about the company. This is important. He she denies asking, or asks about how the interview was? Stop her and push her to ask about the company. We always tend to ask things that matter to us. This trick will let you know what matters to them. What are they pursuing? Gives you a good understanding whether the candidate fits in your culture.

Hope all of these Ninja Tricks for generating Startup Interview questions did help you out. I am sure this will help you get a real good resource for whatever venture you are interviewing (unless the resource too is a BizDharma reader). Do take all the advice with a pinch of salt and next time when you interview a candidate do some homework first. Its not just good to do, its your duty !


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Pradeep November 11, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Much needed tips!!
mostly techy guys in startups are good at technical stuff but not so good in recruiting. This will help.

Akshay November 18, 2011 at 1:03 pm

very nice article

Shobhit December 29, 2011 at 10:29 pm

Hope it’ll come handy for my new developer 😀

Himanshu Chanda January 2, 2012 at 4:44 am

That would be great Shobit. Do share your experience once done 😉

Tesha Fregeau January 29, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Very interesting details you have observed , thankyou for putting up. “Lefty Wise guy dont carry wallets, they carry their money in a roll….beaner on the outs” by Donnie Brasco.

Puneet August 24, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Gonna try them :)

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