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Interview Guide Template for Startup Founders (+ Notion template included)

By 
Pierre Touzeau
 on 
December 7, 2023
Playbooks

If you're a startup founder, you're probably wondering how to build your team and hire people that will be the best match for your company.

We faced this challenge at Claap so wanted to share our typical interview guidelines when leading candidate interviews.

How should it prepare the hiring process

When doing hiring interviews, there are some things that should stay common across your company and some others that are unique to the job you're hiring for.

Before starting any hiring, we usually prepare and validate the following elements:

  • Job description: the goal is to define what you expect from this scope, the mission and the deliverables. Here's the Notion template we use for that.
  • Candidate Scorecard: the purpose of the scorecard is to list all skills that are required to be a good fit for the job and how you're going to evaluate this asking specific questions. Here's for the example the Scorecard we used to hire our Head of Customer Success.
  • Case Study: each job is different so make sure to include a Case Study that enables to assess the skills you'v defined in the Candidate Scorecard.

Hiring interviews: our step-by-step process

At Claap, we use a framework explained in the book "Who - The A Method for Hiring". While they are some pros and cons in this method, we feel like have something structured, repeatable and that we can compare helps us maintain a high standard and also iterate on our process.

Here are the different steps we follow for each hiring:

Screening call interview guidelines (with manager)

45min video-call to assess:

  • required skills, knowledge and abilities
  • present working environment, day-to-day life, remote context

Questions

  1. What are your career goals?
  2. What are you good at professionally?
  3. What are you not good at or not interested in doing professionally?
  4. Who were your last 5 bosses and how would they each rate your performance on a 1-10 scale when we talk to them?
  5. If no first call, it is possible to ask those questions as well.

The who-interview guidelines

For each job, the following questions are asked to the candidate:

  1. What were you hired to do?
  2. What accomplishments are you most proud of?
  3. What were your low points during that job?
  4. Who were the people you worked with? Specifically, what was your boss’s name and how do you spell his name? What was it like working for him / her? What will he / she tell me were your biggest strengths?
  5. If manager - How would you rate the team you inherited on an A, B, C scale? What changes did you make? Did you hire anybody? Fire anybody? How would you rate the team when you left it on an A, B, C scale?
  6. Why did you leave the job?

Technical case interview

The test is key to put everyone in real time conditions and to figure out how it is to work with each other. It is prepared by the candidate on her own, checked by a colleague or the manager, and finally debriefed with the team.

Founder call interview

If not met before, discussion with the other Claap’s founder between Robin and Pierre, around vision, mission and culture.

References check

No recruitment will be performed without reference checks. Contacts will be asked directly to the candidates, but can be done in our networks as well.

Here's how to conduct a reference check:

1. Give the referrer as many information as possible about the role we’re hiring for and our expectations

2. Give context about the hiring process conducted until now and be transparent about the strengths and doubts/weaknesses your were able to identify. This will help avoid the other person to emphasise only strengths to compensate

3. Only at this point start with the specific questions here below:

  • In what context did you work with this person?
  • What were the person’s biggest strengths? (if nothing emerged before)
  • What were the person’s biggest areas for improvement back then?
  • How would you rate his/ her overall performance on a 1-10 scale? Why?
  • The person mentioned that he / she struggled with …in that job. Can you tell me more about that?
  • Would you hire him/ her today, especially for a role similar to the one I described earlier and why?
  • If your were to give us some advice on how to help him/her be successful at Claap, what would that be?
  • If you had to give him/her one piece of advice for the rest of his/her career, what would it be?

Final step: the offer ⭐️

Before preparing for an offer, we also take the time to debrief after each call to answer candidate's follow up questions, and re-qualify the candidate to understand if they have other opportunities and how they want to make the decision.

It's better to prepare the offer with all those information to avoid the offer being rejected.

PS: if you want to use this template, here's the one we use in Notion:

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