ThoughtSpot CEO Ajeet Singh sees hiring as the most important part of his job — but finding the right people can be challenging.
“Too often, we look only at résumés,” he says, “which hides the person underneath.”
But Singh tells Business Insider he’s discovered an interview question that gives him a lot of information about job candidates — and he may be the only tech exec in Silicon Valley who’s asking it.
The question? “If you worked in a restaurant, what role would you want?”
To say it’s off the standard tech interview script is an understatement. Unless you’re trying to get a gig at an actual restaurant, your nascent culinary ambitions generally don’t come up. But according to Singh, it’s an incredibly useful question — and it’s not nearly as zany as it sounds.
“This question gets at the essence of what drives a person and what they like to do, what inspires them, what motivates them” he explains.
It’s not intended to be a trick, Singh says, though he does find that the question “can be disarming.” That’s a good thing. Since it’s “unlikely that a candidate has prepared a canned response” — who would think to? — he finds the answers he gets are “more heartfelt. It also takes a candidate out of interview mode and lets them show their personality.”
There’s no right answer here, he says, but he’s looking for people whose responses suggest certain characteristics: people who want to make things, for example. People willing to take risks.
What interests him is less what you say than your justification for saying it. Maybe you want to be the chef because you love creating new things. Maybe you’d be a waiter because you love talking to people.
“I want to see if I can get some unconventional insight into what people are like when the job search constraints are removed,” Singh explains.
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