A CEO names to Forbes' 30 Under 30 kicks off every job interview with a challenge that often 'catches people off guard'

Samir Ibrahim SunCulture WebsiteSamir IbrahimYou want to figure out the job candidate’s personality, says Samir Ibrahim (pictured).

When SunCulture CEO Samir Ibrahim talks about his job, he likes to use bowling terms.

“You know when you go bowling, the bowling alley has bumpers on each lane?” he said. “I hire the best people, show them where the pins are, and then I just act as their bumpers.”

As a result, Ibrahim, who was named one of Forbes’ “30 Under 30” in 2017, takes a hands-on role in his organisation’s hiring process. Founded in 2013, SunCulture sells drip irrigation systems to Kenyan farmers, saving water and generating clean electricity.

Ibrahim extensively interviews all potential direct reports at the Nairobi-based startup, sometimes clocking in over 40 hours of conversations with individuals interviewing for certain crucial positions.

For many of those interviews, Ibrahim prefers to kick things off with a challenge.

“I like to start interviews by asking people to tell me about themselves without talking about work,” he said. “Surprisingly, this catches people off guard, and their response usually shows how personable they are.”

When it comes to hiring process, Ibrahim says that personality, along with “a desire to build something meaningful,” is crucial.

He also has the following advice for job seekers, especially those who are just starting out in their careers.

“Think about what it is that you want to be remembered for,” Ibrahim said. “Really think about it. That’s your North Star. Now make sure everything you do gets you closer to your North Star.”

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