How to Interview People
& Identify A-Players
• Best way to know if someone is an A-Player:
work with them
best way: some A-Player you have worked
with vouches for them
best way: interview process
– Your sole goal is to determine if they are an A-Player
• Really bad way: rely on the resume
Why Interview People
Spend 15-30 min preparing:
1. Actually read the resume: interesting traits,
inconsistencies, thesis, more
2. Read notes in your internal HR CRM: what do
other people in your company think? How did
they hear about the job? Cover letter.
3. Prep specific questions for the person: craft
new questions. Customize your standard
• Show up on time
– End on time (or earlier – feel free to make it
– Be respectful of their time
• Have an agenda (in your mind) on how the
interview should go.
– Watch the clock
• (you can generalize this to all meetings)
The meeting: high-level notes
• Get them to teach you something
– Few ppl can simply explain complex concepts
• Ask them insightful questions about things
they should know a lot about
– Their field of study or thesis or paper
• Ask hard questions
– And make sure they are interesting
• Most brain-teasers are bad … so be careful
hire Grant Lee
taught me how to
play chess during
• Don’t ask too many questions regarding your
– Ask them similar questions about their past
companies or about a fictitious company
• Don’t ask questions that people just solve.
Get them to interact with you.
• Don’t talk more than 25% of the time.
Key things to learn
• Is this person scary smart?
• How does this person take feedback?
• Are they curious? Do they ask great
questions? Do they engage?
• Are they unsatisfied with mediocre answers?
• Can they communicate well?
• Are they nice and treat people well?