• Subha

“Where Do You See Yourself In Five Years?” Is Passé!

Updated: Nov 10


​If you are in charge of bringing the next employee on board, you need to be able to gauge a potential hire and their capacity to perform in the span of a few hours. As a startup founder, making the wrong hire can destroy your business even before it takes off. Canned answers from potential hires are often in response to canned questions.


​”The secret of my success is that we have gone to exceptional lengths to hire the best people in the world.” Steve Jobs

If you are in charge of bringing the next employee on board, you need to be able to gauge a potential hire and their capacity to perform in the span of a few hours. As a startup founder, making the wrong hire can destroy your business even before it takes off. Canned answers from potential hires are often in response to canned questions.


Do you often find yourself unable to have a conversation beyond the usual questions?

How to ask the right interview questions


Maybe, it is time to change that. The mark of a good interviewer is that they take interest in the people they talk to, and are able to tailor the conversation such that the interviewee is comfortable enough to answer all the questions they ask. Naturally, this cannot be done by approaching each individual with the same, standard set of questions.

Instead, try the approach of finding out as much as you can about them, and their enthusiasm for the job in question. This way, you know if a certain individual could fit into your organisation on multiple levels, and if they can support and enrich your team’s culture during the growth phase and tough times.


Hire Intrapreneurs Intrapreneurs are the new entrepreneurs. These people bring creativity and growth to their organisation, thus working as entrepreneurs within the walls of an organisation. Spotting them is not easy, especially across the table- someone who values what you do and is genuinely interested in solving the same problems as you are, is perhaps your best bet.

Question to ask- “Why are you interested in solving the same particular problem that we are?”


Hire Those Who Do Their Homework If someone turns up for a job interview and knows nothing about your company, that is a major red flag. In this day and age, there is no information that isn’t freely available on the internet. Look for a person who is able to bring up relevant facts about your company in casual conversation. Someone who really wants the job should surprise with how much they know about you and your company.

Question to ask- “Would you be willing to work in our other project (s) too?”


Hire Listeners A lot of people with an impeccable track record often have a chip on their shoulder- they have trouble accepting feedback. However, feedback is how an ecosystem grows and survives, and anyone who gets defensive about suggestions is perhaps not right for you, however extraordinary they may be otherwise. Again, there is a thin line between being assertive and being defensive. You DO need someone who can justify their choice; you don’t need someone who justifies them even when you are pointing out what’s wrong.

Question to ask- “In a certain scenario, what would be the best approach to solving a problem?”

As a follow-up, provide them with feedback. Assess how they take it, and how quickly they are willing to change their solution to incorporate the feedback.


Hiring is just the beginning. Once the person is onboard, you and your teams are going to spend many hours showing them the ropes and putting them through formal training. If the fit isn’t right, these are wasted hours.

Hiring is just the beginning. Once the person is on board, you and your teams are going to spend many hours showing them the ropes and putting them through formal training. If the fit isn’t right, these are wasted hours.

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