Checked our applicant tracking system the other day and found out I’m closing in on 1,000 people I personally interviewed over the last year for @getTeamflow. Learnings below.
Look for attitude over aptitude. You can never fix a bad attitude, and a single person with one can ruin the culture of an entire organization.

Early in my career, I used to be surprised seeing managers fire high performers with a bad attitude — now I understand.
Experience is a surprisingly poor predictor of performance.

This cuts both ways — don’t gloss over someone’s weaknesses because they have a ton of experience, nor overlook someone’s potential because of their lack of experience.
Look for drivers, not passengers. If the person you’re hiring has even just a few years of experience, it’s easy to see which category they fall into. Did they take charge, or did they stagnate for years?
There’s an element of adversariality in every interview — at the end of the day, you’re making a hire / no-hire decision based on what the candidate tells you.

But there are a few effective ways to still get signal.
First, ask them to. “You can be perfectly honest. We all have weaknesses, and any sufficiently long career has had screwups.”

This isn’t a trick, it’s true — someone who doesn’t open up about their fails is either lying or has not taken enough risks. Red flag either way.
Second, tell them you’ll talk to their references (more on how to do that below).

“What will people say about you?”

Not “would” — will.

(This one is from “Who,” the awesome book on hiring by Geoff Smart)
Third, dig, dig, dig. You start as a squirrel looking for acorns, you end as a pit bull locking your jaws onto something the candidate said in passing.

A candidate once told me “then had a two month stint, not worth going over.”

(It was very worth going over)
One way to dig is to ask for actual examples and stories for everything the candidate mentions.

Another way is to never let a candidate get away with not revealing weaknesses and fails.

Ask the question 5 times if you need to. Let awkward silences settle.
Fifth, ask questions in a leading way that assumes the embarrassing answer is the right one.

CANDIDATE: I can be a bit perfectionist at times
ME: and that’s led you to missing deadlines?
Always conduct reference checks (RCs), ideally backdoor ones. It’s a small world, it’s rare that you cannot find a common connection.

But you should be able to collect disqualifying insights even from front door checks — otherwise why bother running them?
A few of my favorite questions during reference checks:

“What were areas for improvement for this person back then?”

(Positive framing, includes recognition the person may have improved since then)
“Is this person in the top 10% of people you’ve worked with?” (If yes, follow up with “top 5? Top 2%?”)

Common advice is to ask for a ranking on 10, but that’s been useless in my experience. Everyone gets a 8-9. Not so with percentile questions.
During reference calls, ask about the weaknesses the candidate mentioned. You’d be surprised how often this happens:

YOU: any area for improvement?
YOU: they mentioned [weakness]
REFERENCE: oh yeah that was a huge problem
One word of caution: if you do this well, you *will* find weaknesses — everyone has one!

Great power comes with great responsibility — if you’re good at finding the truth about people, you also cannot let that stop you from hiring anybody.
Finally, if there’s a doubt, there’s no doubt. I always feel ridiculously excited about everyone I make an offer to — if I don’t, I don’t make an offer. Do listen to your gut.

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Flo Crivello

Flo Crivello Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @Altimor

30 Apr
Gonna sound like a boomer, but I’ve come to believe that 90%+ of cloud spend is irrational, coming from the fact that engineers aren’t finance savvy enough nor CFOs tech savvy enough

Cloud computing is often 10-100x pricier.

And I know the refrain — “you don’t wanna manage your own data centers,” “the cloud gets better while you sleep,” “it scales up and down,” “turn capex into opex!”

But still — 10-100x pricier. Just spreadsheet it out
“But it saves you so much engineering time!”

Have you seen AWS’ console? Tried to debug an issue with a lambda function? Had to pay a $200k bill because of a set of monster instances you forgot to shut down?
Read 6 tweets
6 Jan
1/ I'm insanely excited to announce what I've been working on for the last year:

Teamflow, a virtual office that makes you feel like a team again. Coming out of stealth and announcing our $3.9M seed round today 🎉🎉🎉…
2/ @getTeamflow lets you see your video in an office where your team can hang out.

You can move yourself around, and only hear and see people around you.

So when you want to chat with someone, you can just drag yourself over and say hi — no more juggling with Zoom links
3/ You can also open apps in the space, like Figma, Trello or Google Docs.

Everybody can see and use them together — so you can meet around your sprint board in the morning for standup. Image
Read 14 tweets
3 Jan
What are the reasons why 3D TVs and theaters failed, and do they apply to VR too?
Searches for Oculus over the last 5 years. The increase is slow, but it's real, and it wouldn't be the first consumer product to have a slow start before becoming a huge success. The iPod took 4 years before really taking off. ImageImage
That said, I still don't understand the case for VR for anything else than video games — and even then. VR vs PC / console / mobile:
A. A lot more immersive — but then 3D TVs were too
B. 3D controls — but then so was the Wiimote. People don't like having to move around (cont'd)
Read 4 tweets
29 Dec 20
This was my biggest surprise seeing how huge operations run even at a co like Uber, which is v technically competent and in theory should be able to measure anything. The fog of war, even inside the walls of your own castle, is very thick. Insanely hard to get data you can trust
I remember playing simulation games as a kid and thinking “this is fun! Why wouldn’t running a business be as fun!”
And that’s fun too, but I really think that most of the difference is that in a simulation game you have 1/ clear, up to date data that you can trust
2/ a few levers that you can pull, with certainty on what will happen if you do (as opposed to an infinity of levers that you can perhaps pull, and you’re not sure what’s gonna happen for most of them)
Read 5 tweets
16 Jun 20
I think this is one big reason why Uber won. For ~half of what HQ built, the user was ops, not riders. We built a ton of general purpose tools that they used to hustle and run their business — and how they used these tools often surprised even us
The most spectacular example of this is Uber Eats — originally a pilot called Uber Fresh in LA, which required 0 product or engineering work to launch. It was all ops…
The vast majority of products we ended up building at HQ started as ops-only experiments — you’d always hear people say things like “the [DC] team is killing it with [experiment X], we need to productize this.”
Read 5 tweets
1 Apr 20
It's funny how first time entrepreneurs worry about giant cos entering their market, and anybody who's worked at a giant co tells them not to worry (cont)
The way I think of it now is: you never compete against Google. You compete against a PM at Google, who works 9-5 (sorry!), doesn't care 1/100th as much as you do, and has 70 lawyers on his back and 6 months of meetings every time he wants to do something
Big cos sometimes do kill startups — but it's the exception not the rule.
Look at Spotify. 3 of the biggest companies in the world compete with them — Apple, Google and Amazon.
Or Slack — Google, Microsoft, FB all compete.
Or Dropbox — Apple, Google and Microsoft.
All do fine.
Read 5 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!