12 Unconventional Interview Questions Entrepreneurs Should Ask Reply

By Dharmesh Shah, OnStartups.com

Where potential employees are concerned, obviously skills are important. Yet we’ve all seen fabulously talented individuals become a team that was far less than the sum of its parts.

While expertise is important, cultural fit can be just as – if not more – important. It’s something we obsess over at my company, result in what we call our Culture Code (that describes how we think about talent and culture at HubSpot).

As a result your interviews should focus on more than just skills and qualifications. You also need to ask questions to probe whether candidates will fit into your organization: Are they likely to play well in your particular sandbox? Will their work style and personality complement your team?

Will they not just survive but thrive in a fast-paced, often-chaotic startup environment?

Do your homework before the interview and you should already have a good sense of whether the candidate has the right blend of skills and experiences to be able to do the job well. So definitely dive deeper into an exploration of talent and expertise, but also ask questions to determine whether the candidate can do the job well in your organization – because hiring even one employee who doesn’t fit your culture creates a culture debt you may never pay off.

Keep in mind how the candidate answers is important, but the conversations that follow– since a great interview is a conversation, not an interrogation – can reveal even more:

1. “What concerns do you have about our company?”

Strange question? Not really. No company – and no job – is perfect for any employee (even its founders.) Every company and every job has its challenges and potential downsides.

The candidates you want to hire don’t think your company is perfect; they’ve done sufficient research to know that while yours is not the perfect company and the job is not the perfect job, yours is a company they want to work for because they can thrive, make a difference, develop and learn and grow and achieve… and be a key part of taking your company to even greater heights.

And as a result they’re willing to honestly share their concerns – because they trust you run a company that values openness, honesty, and transparency.

2. “What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?”

Everyone makes tough decisions. (Well, at least everyone you want to hire does.)

Good candidates made a decision based on analysis or reasoning. Great candidates made a decision based on data and on interpersonal considerations – because every important or meaningful decision, no matter how smart it looks on paper, eventually has an effect on and must be carried out by people.

A company at its core is made up of people. Great employees weigh both sides of an issue, considering the “business” aspects as well as the human impact.

3. “Tell me about a time when you had to slog your way through a ton of work. How did you get through it?”

We all are required to at least occasionally place our noses on the grindstone. Most people can slog through the drudgery because they have to.

The candidates you want to hire can take on a boring task, find the meaning in that task, and turn it into something they want to do.

Great employees turn the outer-directed into the self-directed – and in the process, perform at a much higher level. And gain a greater sense of fulfillment.

On the flip side…

Questions 4-12 are here: 12 Unconventional Interview Questions Entrepreneurs Should Ask

Wired For Sound: The Secrets of Auditory Eye Movements & Behaviors 1

By Chris Simmons

Recalling a sound-centric event triggers one of two involuntary behavioral cues known as auditory eye movements. If the individual’s eyes go down and to their left, they are remembering what they heard. If, however, they are trying to remember what they said to someone or thought (i.e., an “internal sound”), their eyes will remain level as they look to their left.

The “Communication Paradox:” How Little You Know About Life’s Most Important Skill noted how the five senses are rooted in our everyday vocabulary. For example, someone might say: “How would it sound if I told you we need to send you to Miami for two weeks? Would that be music to your ears?” He/she is clearly speaking from an auditory perspective. Thus, when asking someone for an auditory recollection, use hearing-associated words to enhance the speed and effectiveness of their memory. This also keeps you on the same “verbal highway,” reducing the risk of miscommunication.

In contrast, auditory construction (i.e., lying) is revealed when an individual’s eyes move to their right in response to an asked or anticipated question. Remember, deceptive cues manifest in a series of “behavioral tells,” so be prepared for other common signs of deceit such as changes in their narrative’s level of detail, the introduction of qualifying phrases or hedges, etc.

Additionally, a deceptive person with an auditory speech preference will often refer to previous conversations in their responses (e.g., “As I’ve told you before…”). This is a psychological form of stress relief, emotional distancing and feigned cooperation because even if he/she lied during the cited conversation, their current statement is – in fact – true. As a result, the liar is calmer and may exhibit few (if any) signs of deception because their focus is the fact that the referenced conversation occurred, not the event in question.

Why Rate Your Marriage? A Numerical Score Can Help Couples Talk About Problems Reply

Therapists Say They Learn a Lot When Couples Commit to Numbers in Areas Like Trust, Teamwork, Physical Intimacy

By Elizabeth Bernstein, Wall Street Journal, Bonds@wsj.com

When marriage therapist Sharon Gilchrest O’Neill met with new clients recently, she asked them why they were seeking therapy. The couple told her they’d spent years arguing over finances and recently had their worst-ever blowup. The husband complained about how much money his wife was spending; the wife said her husband was controlling. They hadn’t slept in the same room for months.

Ms. O’Neill, whose practice is in Mount Kisco, N.Y., then asked the question she often poses in a couple’s first session of marriage therapy: “On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you each rate your marriage?”

The spouses’ answers? “7.5” and “almost an 8.”

“Whoa,” Ms. O’Neill remembers thinking. “What they are saying doesn’t match those numbers.” She would have given their marriage a 4, she says. “Those scores are very telling.”

How would you rate your relationship?

QUIZ: Rate Your Marriage

Researchers often rely on rate-your-relationship questionnaires in studies of why some marriages last while others crumble. Therapists say couples can benefit from occasionally using these tools to step back and get a clinical view of behaviors, healthy and unhealthy, in their relationship. The rating process can help start a discussion, clarify strengths and weaknesses and, hopefully, lead to marital growth.

“Rating helps you be honest with the reality of what you are feeling,” says Karen Ruskin, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Sharon, Mass. “And the only way to fix something is to first know what the problem is.” Some experts, rather than assign one overall number to a relationship, encourage couples to examine and rate a number of aspects of the marriage that researchers and clinicians agree are most important.

Clinicians say they learn an enormous amount of information by asking a couple to rate their relationship—including the spouses’ individual perceptions about the level of crisis they have reached, and their willingness to be honest. It is helpful to see which partner states the number first: Often, it is the person who is angrier. The order in which a couple presents their problems suggests the order in which the problems should be addressed, like a road map. “That’s worth six months of therapy right there,” says Paul Hokemeyer, a licensed marriage and family therapist in New York and Boca Raton, Fla.

Attaching hard numbers to the most important relationship in your life comes with some risk, of course. It can be sobering to actually quantify which areas aren’t working well. “You can’t hedge a number,” Dr. Hokemeyer says.

But for couples seeking help for a troubled relationship, a rating serves as a baseline, Dr. Hokemeyer says, a point from which to move upward.

Story continues here: Why Rate Your Marriage?