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Making 30 Minutes Count: Tips for Startups on Hiring Talent

Loren Wray, Sr. Manager, Human Capital, Consumer Technology Association (CTA)

In the tech community, startups are pushing the envelope on groundbreaking innovation. Whether a startup makes it big or fails can be largely due to the talent working at the company.

Because many startups do not have established human resources departments to screen possible candidates, we’ve put together a list of the most important questions to ask.
The guidelines below can help you form your first line of defense in determining the value of a candidate in order to focus your efforts on landing the top-tier people your organization needs.

  1. Where did you see our position advertised? This simple questions allows you to gain access to where your advertising dollars are working for you and where there is little ROI.   
  2. Why are you interested in joining our team? Having a passion for your industry, work or company is a crucial factor in how hard someone will work once they are hired. People stay longer and work harder for companies they’re proud to work for or whose mission they believe in.
  3. What specifically about this role interests you? Hiring someone into a role he doesn’t actually want can be as detrimental as hiring someone technically unqualified. If  candidates cannot clearly express why they are interested in your company, as well as edify their interest in the work they will do for this role, you should quickly phase them out of consideration.
  4. Why are you in the market? Past behavior is the best known predictor for future behavior, so use this to your advantage.   This is where you get to know your candidates: what motivates them; demotivates them; and most important, what factors influence them to want to leave an organization. If they are unclear or talk around the question, do not be afraid to be direct with them in seeking your answer. Remember, this is your process and you’re leading the call.
  5. Please describe your overall responsibilities and drill down to your day-to–day work. You should also ask this for each employment listed on the applicant’s resume. For mid-senior-level candidates, make sure they provide you quantifiable metrics on their work and how it impacted and supported the business.
  6. What is your current salary, and what are you looking for in this next position? Never get off the phone without knowing exactly what they want and what they are expecting in their next role.
  7. Are you interviewing with any other organizations, and if so how many and at what stages are you? If yes, based on those interviews, where do we fall in your interest level?

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