Thinking Out Loud: Find the Right People for Your Company Using these Interview Questions

Thinking Out Loud – Episode 6

This is the sixth episode in a series called Thinking Out Loud. In these videos, Armando Lanuti, the President of Creative Works, shares some of his thoughts on business, leadership, growth, operations, and anything else on his mind. Below is a transcript of some of the points he discusses in the video.

Hey everybody, today I want to talk to you a little bit about hiring and interview questions.

Now, over the last couple of years as we’ve been evolving here at Creative Works, it’s been really, really important for us to find the right people with the right culture, that way we could build upon that foundation as we move forward and really hone in on getting the right people on the bus not just with the skill but with the personality and the background.

So it’s hard to do that though, and it’s been a very difficult task at times. One of the biggest things that we’ve realized is that, when you are interviewing somebody, they are there putting on their best face. They are there with a veil up of what they want you to see or what they think that you want to see.

Your goal when you’re interviewing somebody is to try and pierce that veil and try and see who this person really is, not just who they want you to see.
One of the biggest things that we do is we go through the normal questions: What’s your experience? What’s your history? What are you looking for in a company? Why are you leaving your previous job? All the kind of stuff that everybody goes through.

But, I’ve actually borrowed quite a bit from a book called Tribe of Mentors with Timothy Ferriss.

In this book, he asks various people of fame 11 questions and these 11 questions are really designed in this book anyways to give you a glimpse into how some of these famous people and successful people work and operate.

What we’ve done is we’ve taken a handful of these questions and incorporated them into our interviews and I’m going to share a couple of those with you because they’ve been able to allow us to pierce that veil of what a candidate wants us to see and it allows us to see who they really are.

One of the fun questions that we love to ask is: What is an unusual habit or something absurd that they love?

It’s a great question because it’s a phenomenal ice breaker, it gets them to think outside of the box a little bit and they start to try and understand “Am I going to share something that’s too quirky or not?”

And so, if they pondered too much, you make sure you hit them really fast, like “Look, I’m not looking for the PC answer, what is something just absurd or unusual that you love to do or that’s about you or something along those lines?”

Another good question is that, hey, if you could have a billboard that would theoretically reach millions and millions of people, you know, what would you wanted it to say?

You could have it be a couple of words, you could have it be a paragraph but your message will get across to millions of people, what would you want that message to be again?

It gives you a little bit of insight in who they are, what their goals are, and their potential motivations.

Another fun one that I like to ask because it for some reason seems to catch people off guard, now I would have never assumed that is: What is a purchase that you’ve made in the last 6 months for a 100 dollars or less but has had the most profound impact on your life?

And it’s funny because some of those answers you get, you’re going to find out what this person values, you know, their time, their energy, their effort, you know, what was important to them, sometimes you’ll get spiritual answers, people would be like, “What if it was for free or what if it was for 200 dollars but it made this kind of impact?” Again, you give them some latitude but you want real answers. You want to understand how this really affected them.

One other thing that we like to add often times into our interviews is something we like to call Grownup Show and Tell.

I highly recommend doing this. Typically it’s something you would say for a second interview, some candidate that you have some progress with and you want to get a little bit more out of.

So what Grownup Show and Tell is, is we ask them to bring an item that they feel comfortable sharing but has great meaning to them. Sometimes they’ll bring something that is work related, sometimes it’s personal family related, memory of a lost one or a loved one or maybe some proud accomplishment that they had in life, but again, it allows you to pierce that veil a little bit and see who they really are, what they really value.

And then on top of that, I always, always recommend if you have core values at your company, try and ask questions that pertain to those core values.

Here at Creative Works for example, we have the EPIC monikor for excellence, passion, integrity and commitment, so we’ll ask questions both directly and indirectly that give us some insight into how those values resonate with the candidate and make sure that that’s, you know, the type of person that we want to bring in here.

Another quick tip that I highly recommend is finding some sort of testing protocol.

We like to use a company called Resource Associates. They take this test that gives us a full personality profile as well as some skills based on the position that you’re hiring for.
They have different ones for architects, designers, retail, all sorts of other positions and being able to use something like that can really give you some good insight on who a person is and what they’re really going to be going for.

So those are just some quick tips for the hiring process and we’ll talk to you soon.