My Favorite Interview Questions

Hiring good people is hard. Finding a good intersection between attitude, skills, experience, and cultural fit can take a long, long time.

My stack-rank of what’s important is cultural fit, attitude, experience, and skills.

Skills can always be taught and some experiences are out of reach unless you’re in the right place at the right time. Attitude goes a long way and cultural fit can be the difference between a team that hums and a startup that craters. (I’ve seen both.)

I use three questions to screen on attitude and cultural fit:

  1. “If you were independently wealthy, how would you fill your time?”
  2. “Has anyone ever asked you to do anything illegal, and if so, how did you respond?”
  3. “What’s the worst thing about computers?”

These open-ended questions provide ample follow-on lines of questioning to help you drill into areas that are important to you.

As a bonus, I’ve found question #3 is a litmus test  for tech hires, especially if you can keep a neutral face and provide no body language feedback while they are answering. People confident in their skills generally pause for a second before going off on a rant. People who are less confident in their skills or are afraid of giving you the “wrong” answer will often melt down.

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