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Startup recruiting – how to get the most out of candidates during the interview?

29.10.2015 | Mika Räsänen | Read time 4 min
A well-planned interview is one of the most important phases of the recruitment process. Before the interview, you’ll need to consider what you want the interview to achieve — and then produce a structure and questions that will help you get there.

Below you will find an easy-to-use guide and checklist for getting the most out of candidates during the interview.

Before the interview

  • Select and write down characteristics, skills and abilities that are the most relevant considering the position you are about to fill. Remember to make sure that you have a common understanding with all the people involved in the recruitment decisions – that you all agree on what the key characteristics are.
  • Think about what should the candidates’ motivation build on, so that you can assess if the candidate fits to the position and would enjoy working for you.

Planning the interview structure

  • Be sure to you use open-ended questions. ”Yes” or ”No” answers won’t help you decide if the candidate is suitable for the position or not. Try instead asking questions where the candidate needs to describe, explain and clarify their answers.
  • Avoid asking questions that are too leading and giveaway the answer. For example a question like “Do you like working in a team?” or “Do you like working under pressure?” often invites an answer such as: “Oh, yes, I love working under tight deadlines.” Ask instead, “What type of an environment do you prefer to work in?”
  • Ask for concrete examples. Like this: Please give a concrete example of a situation when you learned something new? How would you describe your project management skills? And do you have a concrete example to elaborate on this?

Adjust your interview structure and questions based on the role you are interviewing for, but always remember to include the following aspects one way or another:

  • Questions to find out about motivation
  • Questions to find out about potential cultural/team fit
  • Questions regarding the position

Pro tip: Keep in mind that it is important for the interviewer to treat all candidates fairly and respectfully. Remember that the interviewer represents the face of the company and how the candidates are treated during the interview and the recruitment process is how they will judge and advertise your company to their own networks. Surely there is no need to stress how quickly bad reputation spreads and negative experiences are shared?

At Slush aTalent aims to help startups survive the challenge of recruiting their first employees after the key team members are in place. aTalent shares tips and knowledge on how to plan and schedule the recruitment process, how to evaluate people in an interview and how to cope with limited resources. During Slush, we will among other provide cheat sheets with example questions regarding the areas mentioned above – also online! Stay tuned and rock your recruiting process!

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