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Interview questions technical

For the first time, in this exclusive First Round Review interview, Roseman explains exactly how he designs interview processes from top to bottom to build an effective organization, regardless of size or resources.

At the 10, 000-Foot Level

Starting out, there are a few key organizing principles to acknowledge in interviewing, even before you start collecting resumes or asking for referrals. These can be used to craft a clear protocol around interviewing and hiring.

  • You should come out of every interview with a clear sense of whether the person could improve the probability of your company’s success.
  • Great interviewing is work. It takes time to prepare, conduct the interview and then de-brief in an effective way. If you don’t want to do the work, don’t interview.
  • Once you form an initial impression of someone - which usually happens within the first 60 seconds - you should spend the rest of the interview trying to invalidate that impression.
  • You should always take copious notes during interviews so you can make a cogent argument for or against a candidate.
  • In most cases, the “best and the brightest” already have jobs, so you’re really just on the lookout for the best available. Plus there’s no way to prove that your hiring process resulted in the right people because you can’t A/B test hiring decisions.
  • Always strive to hire superstars but realize that not all hires need to “walk on water.” This person should be better along some dimensions than a majority of the current staff and have the potential to have a long-term impact.
  • You want to hire people who are smart, that get stuff done and have the functional set of skills you need for the role.

The Right Way to Read Resumes & Design Questions

Every job search starts with a resume or web profile — whether it comes in as referral or through a proactive sourcing strategy. While current wisdom suggests that resumes aren’t all that important compared to what a candidate actually knows, Roseman argues there’s a lot to be gained through careful review.

The things that most teams have the least experience in is how to read a resume, identify the areas worth probing, and determining how to probe into them.

While screening resumes, Roseman keeps an eye out for areas where he can push candidates. “I always look for things where they have a measure of their success, especially if they make comparisons or use percentages.” For example, "grew revenue by 50% or decreased downtime by 30%."

This is how he develops most of his questions. “You want to find out what somebody really did, as opposed to just being an observer or a participant, ” Roseman says. “Even at the greatest companies, there’s a gap between those who get the most stuff done and those who don’t get much done. You need to try and figure that out during an interview.”

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