I run a small start-up (about 6 people currently) but we are constantly looking for the right people to grow. Two of our core values are "hunger for knowledge" & "technology orientation".

I would love some advice on good interview questions & more importantly small exercises/tests etc, we can use to test these skills in people. For e.g. in terms of technology, we rely heavily on excel and use a lot of the advanced features. After interviewing 100's of candidates, I have realised that even the best talent in our market only has basic excel skills (at our budget probably) and that is fine, as we can train people in this area. However, we would really like to filter out the people, who would 

1. Have a great huger for knowledge/curiosity 

2. Aptitude & hunger to learning new software

Would love some ideas on questions/processes we can use for this.

Also, I am in a country where English is the not the first language, but as our candidates are required to speak English, most of them speak english as a second language. The issue with this is, they are not always fluent in expressing themselves when it comes to behavioural questions, therefore, I do have a preference of good exercises/scenarios t test the above skills, but at the same time, am open to creative questions.

drenn18's picture
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"In our industry, we often have to ______. Provide an example of a time when you've done this. What was the result?"

"At this company, we attract people with a hunger for knowledge. Provide an example of a skill or area of study which you've recently explored. How could you apply this to our workplace"

I hope I've been of some assistance to you. I'm hoping to work with a small business such as yours in the next year or so. What does a company like yours look for in a Human Resources candidate?



consultant2b's picture

Hi David,

Thanks for your useful feedback.  Some interesting questions there, I will test these in some of our interviews. The problem we have been having is, behavioural questions don't seem very effective where we are due to the language barrier. Therefore, we are really keen on focusing more on the exercises, so test these skills, so if you have any ideas in that regard, please do share. 

To answer your question, for a small company like us, I guess we would love to have to someone, who is fairly versatile, and can cover quite a few areas other than the basic HR Duties, such as enforcing company culture, and being able to contribute in other areas also as and when required, because small companies simply do not have the luxury a fully dedicated HR. It is also crucial, to have brilliant people skills, so we can convince the good candidates on why it might be worth it joining a small company compared to larger companies who may be able to offer better perks.


jennrod12's picture

I always ask, "What motivates you?"  Usually if someone loves to learn, it will show up there.  I'll also ask, "What attracts you to this position?"  If it's a position where it is evident they will learn a lot, or wear different hats, the best candidates will note that as something that attracted them to the position.


consultant2b's picture

 Hi Jenn,


Thanks. What kind of answers do you look for to "What Motivates You"?