Working effectively as part of a team is incredibly important for product output, content quality, work morale, and retention. As an entrepreneur, building a business from the ground up is never an easy task. To help mitigate any conflicts or problems, it is absolutely vital that you establish a team that will support you every step of the way. Fostering this type of foundation can allot creativity, efficiency, and motivation each and every day.

So what should I look for when I am finding a candidate?

With a startup or a new business, finding top-level candidates can be a challenge. But it is not impossible. When interviewing candidates, make sure you analyze them personally and professionally. Prompt them to speak about their past achievements, their strengths, their weaknesses, and last but not least, their goals. Afterwards, discuss the following position and see whether or not they possess the right personality and skill-set to drive your company to a long and fruitful future.

Below, you will find five key characteristics you should look for when seeking for a prospective candidate for your business. Remember, at the end of the day, you want this person to fully reflect your vision, goals, and face of your company.

Ambition and Passion

Every business wants to hire motivated and driven professional individuals who are willing to go above and beyond what is asked from them. Finding a candidate who embodies this is one who demonstrates a strong level of enthusiasm and passion for the field or trade work that you are providing. People who come in with this positive and ambitious attitude are individuals who are key to your success. To gauge this, ask a variety of questions about their past work and level of interest towards your company’s product or service. Make sure these answers are organic. You want to make sure the person is there for the company and not anything else.

Question examples:

  • What excites you about this company?
  • Why do you want to work here?
  • Tell me about a project that you were passionate about? How did that go? What excited you most about it?
  • What do you see yourself helping or leading, specifically here at (Company Name)

Producing Results

When looking for an ideal candidate, you want to make sure that they are individuals have a strong track record. As a startup, you will run through various hurdles when trying establishing your business. Because of this, you want to make sure that you have individuals who have a quick learning curve when assimilating into a new position. Not only do you want them to be adaptable, but also you want the person to act, produce, and succeed at the highest level. During your interview, ask your candidate about various projects that they have worked on. In addition, try and gauge how well they will be able to do through specific questions tailored to the position itself.

Question examples:

  • Tell me about one of your biggest successes from your most recent job.
  • Talk to me about a specific project that personifies leadership.
  • If you were given X task, how would you be able to handle it?
  • What if you did not know how to do a specific project? What would you do? Tell me your thought process.

Team Player

No matter what position they are applying for, you want to make sure that your fellow future coworker can work within the framework of a team. Especially for a startup, an employee may be asked to do a variety of tasks with a specific team or individual. That said, try and analyze the person’s personality. Provide hypothetical situations. Test to see if the person is looking out for himself or herself or the entire team.

Question examples:

  • How do you feel about working with a team?
  • Have you had any confrontations with previous co-workers? How did you handle it? Tell me about a time where you had a disagreement with a supervisor or manager. How did you handle it?
  • If I asked one of your teammates with whom you were working on a project, what would he or she say about you?


Being a responsive candidate is more than just showing up and greeting everyone in the office and saying “good morning.” Beyond these social interaction skills, you want to find someone who is incredibly responsive and proactive with the job. This goes back to the person’s passion and ambition. When interviewing a candidate, try and pry into their work experience. Ask for examples of situations where they had to go above and beyond for a task.

Question example

  • Give me a situation where you were asked to go beyond your job description?
  • Give me a situation where you took it upon yourself to go beyond your job description?
  • How important are deadlines to you?
  • How do you handle a situation when you were late with a specific task?

Long Term Investment

As a startup, the one thing you will find is a high volume of turnover. As much as low retention rate can impact the company financially, the damage it can have on the company’s culture can be detrimental. During your interview, try and measure the level of the candidate’s investment they have with your company. Be sure to ask those overarching future questions.

Question example

  • Where do you see yourself in this company 5 months (a year, 3 years) from now?
  • Why are you interested in working for this company?
  • What impact do you want to have for this company?
  • What do you see our company providing for YOU so that you are happy with us at our corporate family?