My Favorite Interview Question
What’s the job you’d want to have after this one?
I’m realistic when I am interviewing candidates. This isn’t going to be the last stop. People have dreams, and I want for a position at Sifted to play a significant role in getting people one step closer.
Startup Southerner’s recent article on Eventbrite, a Sifted client and overall remarkable company, reminded me how much I’ve appreciated building a team built on diversity.
Prior to launching Sifted, my experience in the food world went about as far as my college barista gig. Thus, we knew the skill sets we were looking for on our team we’re very different from our own. Which meant, their ultimate goals were going to be different from ours.
Represented on our team, we have a cook who wants to own his own sausage company, another a taco truck, another a coffee shop. We’ve had a host who is writing a book on her experiences in the inner city, another playing gigs with her band Sally + George, another who holistically coaches clients on how to live a healthy lifestyle.
In the Startup Southerner article, one of our favorite Britelings said it best.
“Usually when you find people who are passionate and driven, they naturally live really interesting lives with unique backgrounds,” Bryan Mayes says. “We are looking to build a diverse culture in every way, and I think when you have that as your foundation, you’re going to build a group of people that embody a wide spectrum of interests.”
Asking what job they would want next reveals to me why they are so interested in this one. It shows me how we can play a larger role in their life. It allows them to be honest and enter into a culture of support.
I’ve found when you box someone, especially Millennials, into a presumption that their 30 year career will be spent in your office, you’re asking for some rehearsed and shallow answers.
Instead, “What job would you want after this one?” begs for an authentic response. Unlike “What’s your five-year plan?” it doesn’t assume a timetable. It’s more tangible and specific than “What gets you up in the morning?”. And while I am interested about how their previous experiences have prepared them for this position, I’m wanting to know how this position prepare them for the next.
We’re ultimately looking for people who are ambitious — big thinkers who can bring personal creativity + unique life experiences into their role at Sifted. We want a team of chefs who all make hot sauce a different way. We want a team of hosts whose personalities are so vibrant that our client’s teams are asking if they can throw them a birthday party (true story!).
Our company is an experiment. We’ve meshed technology, food + startups and are looking for people who resonate with our unorthodox model. We’re looking for people who want to take Sifted farther than Nashville and Atlanta. And when I’m asking about their personal dreams, I’m ultimately looking for cultural alignment with our hustling, zealous + intentional culture.