Favorite interview questions of startup founders

 

While there are companies who sweep hundreds of folks in one go at a college through a test which is designed same for all, Startups on other hand, pick one by one. And each time, the criteria, the screening & the attitude is different.

Recruitments at Startups are very unconventional / different and you actually even can’t call them recruitments. They are partnerships, connections & much higher than that. Startups look for fire fighters and rock stars at the same time in the same person. Having said that, the question is how to identify a kick ass talent?

Being a community of about 70 active Startups, hiring is always on in Morpheus gang all the time. What should be the ideal selection process at startup is a regular discussion here. There are many things which we keep trying and have tried, including have multiple rounds of interaction, a week’s live-in with the prospect, have a 360 degree rating etc. but one thing which is most important is an initial round of interview. What questions to be asked and on what parameters a prospect should be judged? So we had an open discussion in gang and below is the summary of that which turned out to be a very interesting discussion.

1. Sameer, who co-founded MorpheusGang likes to ask “What is the minimum salary you can work for?“  – This certainly can bring out lot of important factors to clarity.

2. Other important aspect is happiness / passion / craziness / attitude etc.

For example, Tarun Bhalla, co-founder – Building Blocks likes to ask “What gives you happiness?” – A person who is clear with what he wants is the one who see it coming. Neh?

Swati Gupta who also co-founded Building Blocks with Tarun, likes to know “What gives you a “Kick” in life?” – Triggers are important; they help identify the driving forces of a person.

Gaurav Munjal, founder – Flat.to always asks “What’s the most unconventional thing you have done in your life?” – Of course, having a permanent tattoo on neck once and then removing it for another one, definitely tells something – Nothing is impossible. :D

Abhishek who co-founded Loremate also likes to know If they are in a relationship or not. He says it helps him to determine lot of aspects, such as a person’s attitude / commitment / compassion / focus / choice & most important risk taking capability.

3. And the obvious one – why startups?

“Why PlanMy.Travel?” – Aashish Gupta, founder – PlanMyTravel

“Why startups? Name 2 things that are the top most priority for taking this or any other job?” – Ankur Agarwal, founder – Debuggify

4. Self awareness / knowledge is one of the key factors to see in a candidate.

“What are your 5 areas of self improvement?” – Nimish Adani, founder – Engrave

“If you had 2 years to live, what would you do? What are your weaknesses?” – Prashant Pansare, co-founder – Playerify

Prukalpa who runs SocialCops likes to ask “What would make you quit?” – Certainly very interesting question, could even be a reality check for you.

Nidhi Gurnani, co-founder – Cardback definitely goes direct by asking “What can you tell me about yourself that is not on your CV?” – Do you see a confused look on his face?

Suhas says that when you draw people into experiences that they are not thinking of answering, it goes some way in throwing light. According to Prashant, people in India don’t write contribution to the projects honestly and it needs to be dug a lot more.

Sameer wants to know more about the person but not the routine college and company stuff but the actual “you” and what college/ company experience did to you and he devised a method where he asks candidate to close his eyes for 10 seconds and let him tell whatever comes to his/ her mind and narrate the story as one remembers it. Many a time this works like magic and a very engaging conversation happens.

 

In the end, we should remember one thing – Compassion. Hiring is not a one way process. Here both involved wants to find the right partner. It is not necessary for every interview to conclude to a decision. Sometimes it just feels like that it is not just the right time to get someone onboard. Establishing relationship is one of the best conclusions of a good interview.

Go, and talk to them.

- This blogpost is an outcome of a conversation/thread that recently happened in our internal gang mailing list.

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