8 min read
The opinions expressed by the entrepreneur's contributors are their own.
I mentor entrepreneurs, work with entrepreneurs, have been a successful entrepreneur and have worked for entrepreneurs. The crucial aspect of the business ecosystem that isn't getting as much attention as it should is the hiring process.
Hiring decisions are largely based on skills, expertise, work experience and academic background. While these are important factors, it is important to find out more by asking the right questions and listening during the interview process. All too often, seasoned entrepreneurs make errors of judgment by not asking unusual interview questions, listening carefully to the answers, and cutting off respondents' rehearsed answers.
No great leader can do it alone. Entrepreneurs know that exceptional success comes from building a team that suits them well. Over and over again we hear stories in which an employee couldn't cope with the chaos or ambiguity that comes with startup life and was fired or left the company. We hear from coworkers who excelled in a startup interview but couldn't combine raw intelligence with ingenuity, ingenuity, and experience to get results.
The key is figuring out what's not on the respondent's résumé and uncovering those traits in order to make more informed hiring decisions. Here are the three unusual but compelling interview questions you should ask applicants. Then, carefully watch their responses to hire the best people for your team.
Related: Creative Interview Questions for Applicants
1. Tell me about a time when you dealt with failure, rejection, or defeat?
Abby Arwal wrote articles for my online news media and digital publisher, which I founded and sold. Then she founded a successful company. But before she came to my company, a number of startups passed her over. They couldn't see her talent and cross-functional acumen, her ability to deal with chaos and ambiguity, and her talent for getting along with colleagues.
Then why was she hired by our company? Because we brought her on board because of her answers to unusual interview questions and not just because she was competent and well trained. During the interview process, I asked her difficult questions about rejection and failure, and her "I'm from the school of hard knocks" caught my attention. She provided some examples of how she fought professional rejections and failures with determination, confidence, and creativity. Her authentic answers earned her the job. We didn't give her the job, she deserved it. And she turned out to be one of our most dedicated, hardworking, and dedicated content creators and designers.
Failure, rejection, and defeat reveal a lot about people. During an interview, it is insufficient to ask, "Tell me about a story of failure or rejection in your career, and how did you overcome it?" Look deeper. They want to see if they fail or beat themselves up if they fail. Are they taking responsibility for their failures, playing the blame game, or offering excuses? Have they learned valuable lessons – or are they most likely repeating the same mistakes? Have you made a comeback out of a setback? The respondent can come up with a well-prepared answer so that you can hear what you want to hear. However, if you want to leave history behind and know who they really are, you need to query differently and watch carefully.
While it is only natural for failure and rejection to sting, if the candidate does not understand that failure and rejection are essential to success, it is a sign that they lack the resilience to stand up after failure . And since you want to work for an entrepreneurial company where uncertainty and complexity exist, you need to have a solution-oriented mindset and believe that adversity or a crisis can turn into an opportunity. Remember, nothing highlights or reveals a person's true character like failure or rejection. And strength of character is an important attribute that needs to be assessed when hiring.
2. What is the most important factor for business success?
The founder of a fintech company I oversaw asked me to take part in the last round interview for the position of Chief Marketing Officer they had hired for at his company. You had shortlisted four candidates. Each of them was asked in-depth questions about their experience, expertise and skills. They all had impressive resumes and were well interviewed, so judging and selecting from among equally qualified applicants would be a difficult decision.
Then I asked them, "What is the most important factor in business success – adequate funding, a great idea, a robust business model, good timing, sales, or a great team?
The first two candidates said, "money." The third respondent said: "Good timing" and the last complainant commented: "Idea". I've dug deep. Each of them made a compelling argument to support their answer.
You won't receive any prizes for guessing why we picked the third candidate. And in time it turned out to be the right decision. She brought the importance of good timing to her marketing job. She used it effectively to increase fintech company's revenues, reduce customer acquisition costs, and increase customer retention rates.
Many current or aspiring entrepreneurs believe that money and a great idea are all it takes to build a successful business. Sufficient funding helps, but the lack of it is not the reason for a company's success or failure – otherwise, entrepreneurs with deep pockets or startups that have been flushed with capital would never have failed. While it helps to have a great idea and money in the bank while starting or running an existing business, realistically the most important thing is timing.
Imagine a scenario where you have a great business idea, adequate funding, a prudent business model, a great sales strategy, and a remarkable team to carry out your business plan. These basic requirements should ensure a successful product or service introduction and a thriving business enterprise. Not necessarily. If your big idea, product or service is ahead of its time or comes too early and consumers are not ready, they will not simply accept your product or service. Alternatively, if your great idea, product or service is too late or too late in a highly competitive market, you will struggle to turn it into a profitable business.
While the idea, the business model, the financing, the sales strategy and the team that leads the company are important factors that lead to entrepreneurial success, the “best time” on the path of an entrepreneur or the development of a startup is “good timing ". Remember, good timing is about being farsighted. If you can get your timing right, you can afford to do a few things wrong.
Related: Unconventional Secrets To Hiring A Great Team As A Startup
3. Are you a self directed learner?
The self directed or self-induced learner is an asset to an entrepreneur's business. Above all, they are humble, adaptable and change-oriented.
Ask the person you are interviewing to provide an example of a time when they had to adapt to change and when it felt uncomfortable. Analyze whether they were flexible in times of change. Take a few minutes to review a book they recently read, a podcast they love to hear, or a webinar they've attended. Pay close attention to the questions they ask you. Does this show their intelligence or how mundane they are? Inquire about the purpose or passion they have outside of work. Know that people with a purpose or passion are solution-oriented and can handle a setback better than people who lack meaning or direction, or who just work for money.
Human capital is one of the most valuable resources for your business to thrive and prosper. Taking the time in the interview process to query differently and listening carefully to the conversation is key to getting the right attitude every time.
Related: 5 Critical Hiring Mistakes Employers Make