“Great vision without great people is irrelevant.” — Jim Collins
Amazing Teams can win you over all the Situations…
Just think ..You’re going to be spending a lot of time & money together. You’re going to go through a lot of stressful situations. So, when you’re forming your team, it is very important to make sure you’re asking the right startup interview questions to your prospect teammate.
Sure, we all know the standards questions :
What are your greatest strengths?
Why do you want to work here..?
Why should we hire you?
What was your biggest accomplishment in your life?
And a bunch of those standards made it onto this list.
But there are other questions you can ask applicants to your startup team that really get to the heart of who they are and why they may or may not be a good fit for your company.
When you’re conducting an interview, there are usually a list of different things you’re trying to understand. Who is this person? How do they work?What are they good at? etc…
With those questions in mind, I’ve tried getting up these 25 interview questions into five categories: personal, professional, your company, industry, and fun startup interview questions.
Read them all or skip ahead to the section you’re interested in….😎.
Startup interview questions to Know them Personally
1. “What is your superpower?”
There is a lot in this little question including a tint of humor and a call for creativity… What is it that you do best?
This will allow you to understand the creativity part of the candidate.
2. “What did you learn…last Month?”
I believe one of the most important things at a startup is having a team that loves to learn. Generally, startups are doing something that not many other companies are doing. There isn’t a well Defined or a Process Oriented one…The worst employees for a startup are those that come in and ask for the training manual…At a startup our job is to figure it out together, no one will spoon feed you a process.This will show the ability of the candidate to learn new stuff.
3. “What are the difficulties you are facing right now? Do You have a plan to Overcome them ?”
It will allow the candidate to tell a personal story, and I suppose that focusing on areas of improvement tends to show a humbler side of the interviewee.
4. “Crack a joke.”
This tells you the creativity level of the Candidate. It also tells you how well they manage an Unexpected Work.
5. “Would you rather be good at a lot of things or an expert at one thing?”
It’s important to know someone’s skill set type — do they have the concentration and dedication to perfect a task, or are they going to be more suited to a generalized role.”
6.What was the most thoughtful gift you bought or made for someone for any event…be it Birthday, Wedding, etc?
Listening to this Question,[the candidate] is out of their comfort zone because they’ve never expected such questions. You get to see what a person is all about in terms of their relationships with people, which is really what any business is all about. Moreover, you will get to see how well this candidate responds to unexpected questions.
7. “When you are online just for fun, what’s interesting to you in terms of content and websites?”
This will help you learn how they’re exploring the world and what interests them outside of work. This also helps you understand the basic nature of the candidate like after work if a candidate spends time on learning…then this candidate could be a right fit, depending upon the nature of the job.
8. “What gets you excited about the future?”
I know ..There is no ‘right’ answer to this question, but it tells you a lot about the candidate. Is the candidate aware of where technology might be going? What is the candidate’s views about the future economy? Does the candidate have an optimistic view of the future? All of these can be answered by this question.
So this question, though seemingly simple, strikes at the very core of their basic nature.
Startup interview questions to Know them Professionally
9. “If you weren’t developing a product with us, what product would you develop?”
This helps you see where the passion lies and if they will have a passion for what we’re doing…
10. “What are your favorite three apps/products ?”
This will show if they have an eye for great product and depending on the answer also helps show if they would be a good fit for the team.
11. ”What would you have done differently in your previous (or last) role, that would have created a better positive impact for your company ?”
This will show the attitude, problem-solving, and how candid the interviewee would be — all in a single question; and it gives the candidate the opportunity to shine and show where he can have the most impact in his new role in your organization.
12. “If you had total freedom to design your own job here, what would that look like?”
This question shows what the person is most passionate about and how entrepreneurially they are able to align their interests and strengths with their understanding of what the company needs…These are Hidden Quality but this single question will allow you to understand this.
13. ”If you were to open your own company in the future, what kind of business will you open and why?”
It can be a way of finding out if the applicant has ambition, proper planning techniques, and an overall drive to work hard.
14. “Can you share an example of when a superior asked you to do something you weren’t comfortable with?”
One crucial characteristic you should look for in new hires is integrity. His or her response to those questions will show you how that individual would navigate an adverse situation.
15. ”Your manager and CEO told you two different ways they did like to approach a task — how do you solve this situation?”
I like this question because it is such a true life startup situation with a simple answer. This will allow you to understand the candidate’s approach towards problem solving & conflict resolving.
16. “Tell me about when you did something big that wasn’t your responsibility. What was the motivation behind?”
I feel roles at startups change frequently and so do the needs of the new business. Employees that are willing to take on new responsibilities and actively solve current problems thrive at startups. They do what needs to be done each day instead of relying solely on a job description. This also shows the basic nature of the candidate towards teamwork.
Startup interview questions regarding “Do they know your company? And are they a good fit?”
17. “What would discourage you from working here?”
It’s interesting to know what candidates are worried about, what we can do to prevent them from thinking about the next job. Hence resolving churn and hence saving cost in the long run.
18. ”Walk me through what you understand by the typical 9 AM — 5 PM workday at our company.”
Even though the candidate doesn’t completely know their role and responsibility, this question gives you amazing insight into how knowledgeable the candidate is on what the position entails. You can tell if they’ve had experience doing this before. You also learn about the candidate’s spontaneity, if they can answer this question on the spot.
“Do not hire a man who does your work for money, but him who does it for the love of it.” — Henry David Thoreau
Startup interview questions regarding ”Do they know your industry?”
19. “Who are our five biggest competitors?”
This one is to check if they’ve done their homework, not only on us but also our industry. Great answers prove that they can hit the ground running.
20. “Tell me something that interests you about our industry.”
It gives us a good indication whether the candidate spent time looking at what we do, our industry. If someone really wants the job, he will prepare accordingly and those are the people we want.
21. “Where do you see our industry going in the next few years?”
This indicates how well that candidate has done their research, understands the context of the business, and therefore might see the potential paths to growth.
And, of course, the fun type interview questions.
22. “Would you rather fight 10 duck sized dinosaurs, or dinosaurs sized duck?”
While it sounds flippant, it’s a good way to gauge a candidate’s reaction to the unexpected (a key startup ability to have), as well as how they problem solve. Whether they inject humor or take the answer seriously also tells you a lot about them and how they’ll fit into the business culture.
23. How would you growth hack a country?
It provides you with great insight into the candidate’s mindset, a startup is looking for startup-minded people who can think outside the box and come up with new ideas. This one question can help you in this.
24. “Suppose I’ve never heard of the internet and explain me how you use a website to help you pursue one of your hobbies.”
Actually answering this question requires no experience, just critical-thinking and this is the key…for decision making.
25. ”How would you describe the color purple to a blind person?”
When startup looks for a potential candidate to include in their team, they like to ask brain teaser type questions. specifically like the above. Based on their answers, you pick who answered smartly and was able to deliver their answers with confidence. This helps you understand the basic nature of the candidate to deal with new upcomings.
You could include these Questions as an Addition to your standards ones…so that to really get to the heart of, who the candidate is and why is he/she may or may not be a good fit for your company.
“Never hire someone who knows less than you do about what he’s hired to do.” — Malcolm Forbes
Best Of Luck..👍