A lot of tech companies like to throw oddball questions during job interviews, but Shopify CEO Tobi Lütke follows a much easier approach.
He simply asks about the job applicant’s life story.
“Our hiring is almost completely built around just going through someone’s life story, and we look for moments when they had to make important decisions, and we go deep on those,” Lütke said in an interview with the NY Times’ Adam Bryant.
He said the goal is to find out if the person’s an optimist who sees opportunity everywhere, without having to explicitly ask the question.
“I find the strongest predictor of people who do well at Shopify is whether they see opportunity as something to compete for, or do they see opportunity as essentially everywhere and unlimited? It’s a rough proxy for pessimism and optimism,” he said.
Lütke is a big believer in spotting unlimited opportunities because it’s something only companies on a growth trajectory are able to see.
“Being part of something that’s growing fast is better than being part of something that isn’t growing fast because opportunities are essentially everywhere and you’re not competing for something,” he said.
Lütke was one of the cofounders of Shopify, an e-commerce software maker that’s now worth $2.5 billion. He took over the CEO role when there were only 8 people, and has been able to grow it into a public company with over a thousand employes now.
And Lütke’s hiring philosophy seems to be working. Shopify had more than $205 million in revenue last year, nearly 4 times what it had two years ago, and its stock is up more than 20% over the past year.