One good trick for interviewing candidates at a small startup

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.

8 Sep 2016, 4:14pm | 3 comments

  • disqus_bFBVcwwzHX

    Dan, this is really trivial as a technical person is not their to sell the company they are there to solve technical problems. Now for sales, yes, and it is a good idea to understand what a company does, but that usually changes according to customer needs.

  • Joshua Dance

    Great tip! We also like to actually give our candidates a take home assignment. Becomes clear which spend any time on it, and if we actually end up using the result (like a blog post) we pay them for their time.

  • Grow

    We are writing a post about how we hire for growth, and we are going to include this great question (of course with a link). Thanks!


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