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On hiring questions & A-players

On hiring questions & A-players

14/01/24

Some assorted notes on hiring. I occasionally share of these notes with our hiring managers for introductory rounds, evaluation, reference checks. If you're hiring, keep these handy.

Introducing yourself:

Sell yourself, then the team, and then the company.

  1. Sell who they will be working with — you: Who are you at this company? How long have you been here? What did your career look like?

  2. Sell what you have built: In the company, in your career, key milestones, stuff that the candidate may know of.

  3. Sell the team: Give a quick round of intro about your team, and which companies have they come from. What kind of work are they doing now? How long have they been here working with you? What do they do outside work?

  4. Sell the company: Likely, you'd have done it in the job description. Do it still. Talk about the company vision, some of the things the company's focusing on now.

Traits of an A-player:

  • They're efficient. They don't procrastinate. They'll finish things on time. Have great hold on their tools. Have high confidence in their capabilities.

  • They are honest. Immediately accept mistakes, or call-out something they have missed. They'll share both good and bad news with you.

  • They are proactive. They're always keeping the peers, oversights up-to-date on stuff. They'll proactively reach out for 1:1s, difficult conversations, or things to stay unblocked.

  • Their performance is persistent. They are consistently good performers. They don't perform great in 1-2 projects and become average in others. They're consistently delivering.

  • They follow-through on commitments. If they said they'll take care of something, they do.

Questions to keep in mind during interviews:

I don't ask these questions explicitly always but have a 30-minute conversation to cover these implicitly for culture & team fit.

  1. What are your career goals? How do you plan to achieve those goals?

  2. What are you really good at professionally?

  3. What are you not good at, or not interested in doing professionally?

  4. Who were your last few bosses? How will they each rank you on a 0-10 scale when we talk to them?

  5. Why would you consider joining UC? If they stop at just a line of answer, nudge them with, "Tell me more… " "How so…" "What…" "How…"

  6. What kinds of challenges are interesting to you and why?

  7. If I ask your current colleagues about your areas of improvement, what would they say?

  8. What were some low points during your last job?

Questions to ask during reference check:

  • What were they hired to do?

  • What would you score (candidate name) out of 10?

  • What would it take them to get a few more points?

  • Would you hire this person again?

  • If we had a call 1 year from now and I told you that it didn’t work out with (candidate name), what is your best guess as to why?

  • What question should I have asked about (candidate name) that I didn’t ask?

Bonus questions

Emphasise on them more during manager, leadership hires.

  • How would you rate the team when you joined the company? Add rating parameters.

  • What changes did you make in the team or org?

  • Did you hire anybody? How many? How?

  • How would you rate the team when you left?

  • Why did you leave the job?

  • What accomplishments are you most proud of?
    A-players talk about outcomes; B/C players talk about people or events. Ask about their performances year on year, against what they'd planned for a year, and even peers.

  • Who were the people you worked with? Ask for their name (and spelling, if it wasn't clear).

  • What was it working with them?

  • What will they tell me about your biggest strengths and areas for improvements?

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