Our Go-To Interview Questions

interview questions

What aren’t you good at?

Why we’re asking: We assume that whatever you self-identified as your weakness will be 5x worse when we work together. This isn’t a trick question, or meant to prevent you from getting the job — it’s to lay it all out so we know what it will be like to work together. And if you say you don’t have one, that is a flag. We all have weaknesses. Ask us ours.

From theSkimm

In 50 years, you are on a porch with your grandchildren — what do you say you got out of theSkimm?

Why we’re asking: We want to know your motivations for coming to theSkimm. Everyone wants something different out of their time here. Some want to start their own company one day, some want to be a COO or CMO, some want to start a non-profit, some have no idea what they want but they want to be at an early-stage startup. There is no right answer here, but often the answers will give us insight into why you want to be here. Not only does that help us figure out if you are a fit, but if we know your motivation, we know how to make your experience the most valuable.

How are you changing the value of the company?

Why we’re asking: Two reasons. 1. We want you to know how serious we take the fact that every employee has equity and is a part-owner of the company. Therefore, we want you to know that it is your job to help add value to it. 2. We want to see if you understand how the job function ties to the bigger picture of the company (and yes, this means it is on us
to make sure you understand that).

Other Hiring Managers at Skimm HQ:

Tell me a project you’ve worked on (or are currently working on) that you’re proud of and why? — Head of Marketing

Why we’re asking: This gives me a sense of how you work cross-functionally and interact with the team. It also gives me a good sense of the role you played in the project. Are you working with product, design, engineering, analytics? This also gives you the opportunity to showcase the passion you have for your craft, and not just the company.

Where do you turn when faced with a problem you’ve never solved before? Can you walk me through a recent example? — Head of Growth & Analytics

Why we’re asking: This helps me understand how candidates approach problem solving, their level of creativity, and if they solve problems independently or turn to others for help.

What do you think we’re doing well when it comes to X (newsletter, marketing, partnerships, etc). What do you think we could do better? — Managing Editor

Why we’re asking: The first question is a way for candidates to articulate concrete ways they align with the brand. The second question is for them to identify opportunities for growth, and to showcase whether they can think creatively on their feet.

What’s the worst part of your day? — Recruiter

Why we’re asking: I like to see if a specific responsibility comes to mind, or if the response is behavioral or situational.

Describe the role of a product manager. — Head of Product

Why we’re asking: Product has a lot of definitions, and each company has a different philosophy around how to think and build products. The way someone answers this says a lot about the types of product roles they’ve played.

What do you find most challenging about working on a cross-functional team? — Head of People (HR)

Why we’re asking: I like to see how candidates approach collaboration, and get visibility into their ability to compromise and understand another team member’s point of view. It also gives you insight into their ability to empathize, and understand the experiences and perspectives of the broader team. Also, if they say that there aren’t any challenges, they probably aren’t being honest or might not be very self aware.

Describe what happens behind-the-scenes when you type www.theskimm.com into a web browser and press enter. — Head of Engineering

Why we’re asking: On the surface, this is a question about Internet fundamentals. We ask this question to determine the breadth of a candidate’s knowledge as a generalist, and to see how she or he puts programming specialties in context.

What inspires you? — Chief Business Officer

Why we’re asking: I ask about ambition because, as a manager, it’s my job to not only help others be successful in their careers but to also help them be successful on their journey. Whether I’m the end or a layover, I want to make sure they grow and that I make an impact on their future.

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