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When I hire, how to test personality?

I'm hiring for my startup and I'm looking for a way to understand my candidates personality.

Linked and CVs only give me so much about there personalities and I want to measure if they'll be a good fit for my team.

Any ideas how I can go about this? Is asking for a video a good idea? Asking questions about what interests/hobbies?

I'm lost and would like to be sure I hire the right personalities on top of the right technical skills!


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Been through this. The easiest method would be to find someone in your team and compare the new hire against this “benchmark” employee in a video call. But I’ve realized, looking for too much “culture fit” only does more harm than good. Unless your team (the dept they’re going to work in) is pretty big, >15 people, culture should be taken as an opportunity. Unless the person is lazy, does not reply, is non vocal (these are definite red flags) being different might be good. I had an intern who talked very selectively. I had to encourage him to speak up and believe me, he (re) designed our entire database.

Culture fit especially for small startups is overrated. You are not Google. They obviously have no idea (and cannot know about) about your culture unless you tell them. It’s like you visiting a club and them saying they allow only formal suits. Well, “noone told me because I could’ve changed”

My point being, for startups, by definition the culture should be “accommodating”. Don’t judge them if they fit. Judge them based on “if they are willing to fit”

Other points

Then I would suggest a democratic approach if possible. Do a face to face interview with the candidates you have shortlisted. Have multiple sessions. One with you (and any other founders). Individual or all founders together is up-to you depending on time available. Then have them meet with the people they will be working with. Then with any other person who is directly affected (any HR, etc.) although this isn’t really required.

The first round with founders would be a general talk. What they feel about your vision and mission. How they think they can contribute. Give some actual problem that they will be working on and see how they answer (don’t judge the answers, judge how they answer). Even if what they are suggesting is wrong or unrealistic, it’s fine. They’re not going to do it when they get the job. They’re going to follow you for the most part initially. In this round, you should explain everything about the company. The culture, working hours, how much freedom they have (work from home, snacks bar, etc.). Remember, what you tell them in this round is how they will answer. For example, if you don’t tell them that you follow agile, and look for an answer in which they should have mentioned agile, that’s really not fair, in my opinion.

In the second round with the team members they should be given an understanding of the team dynamics. Who they will report to, what tools they use, then dive into some really deep technical stuff. This can be their projects or previous work experience. Remember. If their school/university projects align with your job requirements and they are able to explain it, that’s a good sign.

The first two (CxO’s and team members) can be about and hour or so. The second round can be around 1.5-2 hrs. Depending on how engaging the conversation is.

There are many benefits to this approach. First, it takes the burden off your shoulders. When everyone you select has been through this 2 round process, the team itself will come to a consensus on 1-2 candidates. Then you can make a better call. Second, it helps the team understand who will join them. Third, it eases the onboarding for the new hire.

The details and structure of the rounds are obviously subjective but the important part to remember is if the people like them, more than half your job is done. Nobody wants to hire a person who is excellent at work but is an egotistical maniac who complains about everything and everyone.

I am CEO and had to fire 70% of work force for under performance. So I can speak from heart.

I would ask a guy to ask me questions. The quality of the question shows a lot about a person's thinking. Most people who were quiet turned out to be really bad employees. Get a quickly figure out what make them tick and listen. I would not want someone who is quiet.

Ask a slightly personal or "offensive" question and see if you can make the person show some real color or depth of ignorance. Ask him "what do you think of trump good or bad for our company's future" and if he is shying away or being polite, I would avoid the person, Avoid argumentative people, Avoid people who are hard to please and people who treat others with disrespect.

Ask technical questions Ask references. People will make up all excuses about they their former bosses can not be called - never believe it. They say "only past success is proof of future success". You don't run a training school. You don't want to pay their maturity tuition. Never skip any of the "cliche's". Degrees matter, the place where they went to school is not irrelevant.

I would "never trust lightly" and give the candidates the benefits of the doubt. Certainly be very receptive if someone on your team give negative remarks. An over paid talent is more than many below everage people who will be just 'suckers" of your cash pool,

Remember you need to pay those people severances and very inconvenient to let them go So be careful to the max.
No offense. But that's really not how you treat people.

I really don't think asking personal or political questions is appropriate, not only in an interview but basically anywhere in the workplace. It reflects poorly on you. And the company. If someone asked me this question, I would judge the man instantly. If the employees don't like their leader, their productivity falls exponentially. The environment becomes toxic. I have seen this first hand. Probably what happened to a good chunk of that 70% of employees.

And if you lack trust in people, you probably shouldn't even be in a leadership position. Seems like you know how to run a herd, not a company. The company is your cause. Your dream. Not theirs. If you expect them to share that, you are in the wrong.
I know what you mean. I just tested your response. It is a "mild acid test' as I have said.

The cost for light trust is very high.

Imagine getting married for life on one date. We assume everyone walking on earth is a nice person made by God in his own image. We just want to find compatibility, agreeability, tolerance, largesse, teachabiilty, and tendency to respect authority, even faking it. The interview is the one time the boss is at a disadvantage. The candidate knows how not to reveal the true character. So you need to bring it up a notch. You have only 60 minutes to figure our if you want to give a lot of money to a person, whereas an average person never pays their own life-long friends.

Good luck "trusting people". Think about protecting yourself first. Most countries have labor laws that over protect the workers. A boss is not in a position to grant generosity.

When Jeff Bezos and his wife divorced, do you think there is trust or not? or is the trust still there? Anyways good luck. You asked very worthy questions.

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July 11, 2020 at 1:04:48 PM

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