Guest Post: A First Interview Template

startup hiring
Here at Collider, we believe it is as much about what you learn on the journey to your destination, as getting there. And this week we wandered through the world of HR. We are lucky enough to work in the same building as Seed.Jobs - who are bringing marketing intelligence and data science to recruitment, empowering companies to engage with the right talent at the right time. And they have been kind enough to share their step-by-step guide to hiring talent. And they've generously shared their first interview template for all to enjoy.

Example First Interview - Getting to know each other in 30 mins

Part 1: Putting them at ease

  • Step 1: Start with a friendly opener to put someone at ease and make it a little bit less formal, gets conversation going

Example: "Hey, how are you, how is your day going?"; "Have you had a good weekend / week?"

  • Step 2: Establish the format of the interview, so they know what to expect

Example: "Really appreciate you taking the time. I wanted to make this quite informal - I'd love to tell you a bit about us and what we're building, and it would be great to learn a bit about what you have been upto and what you are interested in."

Part 2: Intro to your company - get people excited

  • Step 1: Give an overview of your mission

Example: "I'll start by giving you a bit of background on why we started [our project]... 

  • Step 2: Introduce the team, give a bit of history, explain how you work

Example: "The company was founded x months ago and we're a team of y hackers and z hustlers...."

  • Step 3: Give a view of the future

Example: "We are a product-centric company with a big focus on data, which to us means ...... 

  • Step 4: Highlight our approach to teaching/learning/development

Example:  We encourage everyone to always find new technologies to use and you get a lot of responsibility from day 1"

Part 3: Intro to the Candidate

  • Step 1: Get them to introduce themselves
  • Example: "Would love to hear about you, your background and what you've been upto recently"
  • Step 2: Get an idea of what they are looking for
  • Example: "What kind of stuff are you interested in doing next? Are you looking for specific opportunities or roles or technologies that you want to work with?"
  • Step 3: Understand their motivations
  • Example: "Can you tell me why you are interested in XXX"
  • Step 4: Get a frame of reference to their timing (when they want to move)
  • Example: "In terms of timing, are you looking to move now? What is your notice period?"

Part 4: Determining Fit

  • Step 1: Role

Example: "What would you say is the ideal role for you i.e. in terms of responsibilities etc."

  • Step 2: Drive

Example: "What motivates you and why?"

  • Step 3: Work Ethic

Example: "What is your working style? If you ran the engineering team, how would you do it?"

  • Step 4: Self awareness

Example: "What's the biggest impact you have made in a past role; and why do you think so?"

  • Step 5: Learning    Example: "What is your approach to learning? Do you spend your spare time researching technologies?"
  • Step 6: Creativity

Example: "What is the most creative thing you have done?"

  • Step 7: Personality

Example: "What do you do in your spare time? If you could take a 5 years off work with no worry about money - what would you do?"

Part 5: Answering Questions

  • Step 1: Give them an opportunity to ask questions

Example: "I've been asking all the questions. Do you have any questions for me?"

Part 6: Next Steps

  • Step 1: Thank them for their time

Example: "[First Name], thank you very much for your time. It's been a real pleasure chatting to you"

  • Step 2: Inform the candidate on what happens next

Example: "The next steps are, I'll circle up with our team and we should be in touch in the next day or two. Typically our process is we'll send you a test to do, and after that there will be an interview with a couple of our [engineers]"

  • Step 3: Find out if they have other processes ongoing

Example: "Finally, just wanted to check - do you have other interview processes going on right now? We can move very fast to make a decision for the right people"


Guest Post: Your First Hire

**This is the first post of two on the hiring process for early-stage startups from our friends at Seed.Jobs.**teamwork
We are halfway through the Class of 2015 programme! We can't believe that only a short time ago the sky was grey, and our founders were just joining us in London. Two months later, they are all on their way to becoming full-fledged businesses. And a part of that journey is expanding their teams. What are the sorts of things a founder needs to take into consideration when making some of their first hires? Here's a quick list of things to keep in mind;


Step 1: Figure out what kind of people you want to have in your team/project/company

Culture can evolve, but 1-10 employees can really dictate how it is shaped in the early days. Consider the impact of hiring people that you wouldn't go for a beer with, or that work remotely.

Step 2: Figure out how to make those kind of people excited by what you're doing. 

We start interviews by briefly telling people about what we're building and why it's important, and by explaining our work process and culture. Find out how to tell your story to the right audience at the right time.

Step 3: Define what you care about at a high level 

  • General
  • Interest in what we do
  • Communication
  • Curiosity
  • Tech
  • Learning
  • Problem Solving
  • Knowledge sharing (e.g. open source contribution)

Step 4: Identify core skills/strengths/criteria you want to prioritize for the role

  • Required
  • Bonus
  • Javascript (4/5)
  • Angularjs (2/5) - focus
  • Reactjs (3/5)

N.B consider what a candidate may want to focus on in next role. 

Step 5: Figure out where you can find candidates that don't apply to you 

e.g. For developers we like to use Angel List, along with contacting people directly through forums. For other roles, such as designers, posting jobs can be effective, but you can find great passive candidates in other places (e.g. Dribbble).

Step 6: Figure out the simplest way to start conversations with relevant candidates 

e.g. a simple landing/jobs page, with Email/Apply with Linkedin (or check out what we at do to make this easier)

Step 7: Come up with an interview process that sells you, and lets you comparatively assess them

For more info on that, click here.