Loyalty is the Greatest Good
Or, How to Recruit for Your Startup
Finding and keeping talent is the cornerstone of good business. Any company is only as good as each individual it employs. So, how does one ensure that their company is attracting and securing the right people? At Trendify, we’ve developed an interview process that works impeccably. We’re going to delineate what we do below.
- The best talent is not necessarily in startup hubs like the Bay Area; Gothenburg, Sweden; or Herzliya, Israel.
- Previous experience doesn’t matter beyond a certain point (as long as people know enough, you should consider them. Our engineers taught themselves machine learning, web development, and databases on the job).
- The best employees are necessarily self-driven, intellectually curious, and hungry for success.
- Loyalty is the greatest good. If you’re asking it of them, they better be getting it from you, and vice-versa.
These guiding principles underlie our entire HR process. By actively avoiding the talent hunt in the large hubs, it becomes considerably easier to find and entice people to join your company. Since Eamon and I were relatively inexperienced starting out, we see the value of untested, new blood. One of our developers applied to work here with only 4 hours of Python experience; he’s still the only person to have solved our technical interview. Indeed, lack of experience is counterbalanced by a candidate’s hunger for knowledge and success. Finally, we see our company as a family. We will stand by each other no matter what.
Some of Our Interview Questions & Why We Ask Them:
- How many people live in your hometown? — Indicates degree of spatial awareness. How perceptive is the candidate about the environment in which they live?
- Tell us about an amazing app or website we’ve never seen before. — If someone says Yik Yak or Snapchat or, worst of all, Yo, they’re not getting the job. We’re looking for deep insights into the nexus of tech, consumer behavior, and futurism. It also gives a glimpse into whether the candidate is well-read, knowledgeable about our industry, and intellectually curious.
- What’s the most interesting thing you did last night? — Is the candidate fun to be around? Would I go to a party with him/her? No one likes a rain cloud.
- Who is your greatest mentor and how did they shape your way of thinking? — Is the candidate teachable? Are they aware of how others contribute to their growth? Do they want to learn?
- Take your favorite childhood movie and relate it to a contemporary social issue. — Can the applicant think on their feet? Are they able to connect completely disparate elements into a cohesive whole?
- Find a major flaw in our business and propose a fix. — Allows us to gauge the applicant’s business acumen and fluency with our company.
- Teach us something in 2 minutes. — Is the applicant creative? Can they solve problems quickly but thoughtfully? This becomes very relevant with iterative methodologies.
- What is machine learning and how does it work? — Allows us to peer into the candidate’s degree of technical skill. Even if they get it wrong, can they come up with some logical answer?
- Will you drop other commitments to work here? — Does the candidate understand how much importance we place on loyalty? Is he/she willing to demonstrate that degree of loyalty to our work?
- Who would you cut or keep? — If we’re recruiting a batch of employees, we like to do group interviews. We then privately ask each candidate who they would reject and accept if they were to get the job. There’s no point in getting the very best employee if they can’t function within our team.
Some of these questions might seem frivolous or wacky, but they’ve worked for us in the past. Eamon (Trendify’s CTO) and I do our interviews together and we only accept people that we both agree on wholeheartedly. Our acceptance is provisional, however. We bring on potential employees for a 30 day trial period and see whether they are actually a good fit in terms of personality and skill. At that initial run, we tend to develop a concrete idea of whether someone would be good for us. Thus far, the system has not failed us; our team of 7 is the best we could ask for.