Field Guide
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Here are some questions you can use to qualify candidates before formally interviewing them. This one step can save you a great deal of time and make sure you’re aligned when it’s time to make an offer.

Part 1: The basics

Describe your last role and what you worked on.
Why are you interested in the opportunity with our company?
Why are you looking? Where else are you interviewing?
How many interviews do you have, and at what stage?
Are you doing phone interviews or on-sites?

Part 2: Understand the competition

Do you have any other offers in hand?

(Have them stack rank the opportunities and ask what separates them. You are looking for any information that will make your company stand out against the others

Example: If they are interviewing at Google you can phrase it as: “How does working for a big corporation compare to working for a company trying to solve problem X?”)

Part 3: Understand the candidate's situation

Does the commute work for you?‍

(Don’t just let them say yes. Confirm your location and how long it will take to get there. There have been times that a candidate has pulled out of the process after they come onsite because they didn’t seriously consider the commute. This is a major time waste for the whole team.)

How long until you can start a new opportunity?

(You will run into candidates that are looking to make a change in 6 months. Keep in touch with these candidates but don’t put them in the process.)

Are there any other factors that would prevent you from accepting an offer from us, should it get to that point? (Kids, spouses, parents, etc.)

(Knowing these factors will help close a candidate. For example, a candidate could have a child that needs to be at a doctor’s appointment every Wednesday. Knowing this and allowing them to work from home on Wednesdays will show that you are conscious of their personal needs and could help close them at the offer stage.)

Are you legally authorized to work within the country you are applying to?

Part 4: Align on compensation expectations

What type of compensation are you looking for in your next role?

(Avoid asking for their current or past salaries. Only if they willingly offer the information. If they ask what the budget for this position is, give the general range, highlight that compensation may be dependent on interview performance Find out what compensation is important to the candidate, and this will give you guidance as to how to structure the offer. Are they more interested in Equity? Are they more interested in cash etc.? After every step (pre-screen, phone interview, onsite), confirm this number.

Explain to them that your offer letters have an expiration date. Should everything go well, you will put an offer in their hand the day of the onsite or the next day. Put a 48-hour expiration date on your offer letter.)