At the beginning of every interview I always ask one question, and it almost always separates the high-quality, serious candidates from the people that are just curious or are used to skating through interviews. The first question I ask is:
So can you pitch me what our company does?
And it’s always 100% clear which candidates have spent time doing their research and thinking about our product and which ones have just shown up hoping to wing it.
This isn’t as useful for a really well-known company, but if you’re a small startup it’s wonderful.
And the best part is that I’m not giving up any secret that will make this less likely to work in the future. The only people who will read this are the ones that already do research anyway.