You grew up thinking unicorns were just a myth, right?!
We're here to tell you that since we've launched we have found hundreds of them! I'm not talking about the legendary creatures with spiraling horns projecting from their foreheads, I’m talking about individuals with an ineffable drive to get the job done spectacularly well.
How do we define a Unicorn?
The Assistantly Unicorns 🦄 are the best team players that have a niche skill set or are exceptional at their roles all while seeing the bigger picture.
Unicorns must be curious, authentic, kind, entrepreneurial and agile in order to provide exceptional service for our clients! Our Unicorns think and plan big and small, shattering expectations. They definitely live and work beyond the parameters created by their job title and life circumstances. They are respectful, responsible, full of purpose and absolutely curious by nature. Grit and determination drive their output and “I can’t” is not part of their everyday vocabulary. Our Unicorns get shit done!
In the staffing/outsourcing space, I know a lot of people who understand the importance of hiring Unicorns. But they haven't exactly nailed down how to ensure that someone is a Unicorn before hiring them for the job!
Maybe it's because everyone has different ideas on what makes up a Unicorn... but when interviewing for positions at Assistantly we ask very specific Unicorn defining questions to see if the candidates qualify for the rare breed or if they can be found at any ordinary stable.
The Unicorn interview process...
We have a very tailored process when recruiting rockstar candidates. We don’t just rely on a one page resume. First, I make sure all our recruiters hop on a video call with every candidate before hiring them. This gives us an idea of their personality, social skills, and overall professionalism.
Secondly, it gives us a chance to ask them the Unicorn questions we have carefully crafted below and get their responses in real-time. It doesn’t allow them time to think and be strategic about their answers. No BS, just their initial thoughts and responses to these questions:
1) How do you refuel your energy?
Energy is highly important with every position, and it’s something employers should consider more when hiring.
For us, if a candidate answers by saying they refuel their energy with people, they are not fit for a unicorn position. Refueling by spending time with people (i.e. spending time with family, hanging out with friends, etc.) means they are dependent on others and can't do things on their own for long.
We look for candidates that refuel energy on their own (playing sports, going on hikes, cooking, etc). This means they are independent of others and can work efficiently and effectively on their own with little to no direction.
2) You're on vacation on a beach, there is a hotel on the left and a hotel on the right, there's no visual indicator that one is better. Which one do you choose?
For Entry/Mid Level Positions: These roles often require logical, analytical thinkers. An ideal candidate for these positions will answer with fact finding, logical choices like visiting both hotels and will check out the price, what food options does each hotel offer, views from the rooms, types of rooms, etc. These candidates rely heavily on the facts.
For Senior Level Positions: Upper-level positions often require intuitive thinkers. An ideal candidate will answer by visiting both hotels and instead of relying on facts they will go to the hotel guests and ask about their experience. They will often make a decision based on their gut feeling of which one they think is best. This means they can make important decisions quickly, even under pressure.
3) Describe your perfect kitchen.
You'll be able to tell if someone is logical or tactical and how they will go about a problem, project, or goal by asking them about their dream kitchen. The order they describe it and what they describe will tell you a lot about how they process situations.
The Answer of a Tactical Person (Thinking Bottom to Top, or Micro Perspective):
“I would love my kitchen to have beautiful stainless steel appliances, a sub-zero fridge, a double oven, a pull-out microwave, and a double island. It would also be great for the kitchen to be big, open, bright, and black and white.”
If someone thinks micro, that means they work from the bottom up to solve a problem or achieve a goal. Working step by step or piece by piece methodically.
The Answer of a Logical Person (Thinking Top to Bottom, or Macro Perspective):
“I believe the kitchen is the heart of the home. I want a kitchen that is big, open to the other living spaces, and brown. I would love to have amazing stainless steel appliances such as a built-in espresso machine, double oven, oversized island, etc.”
If someone thinks macro that means they work from the top down to solve a problem or to achieve a goal. Here is the goal, let's work down on what we can do to get there.
4) Think back to your days in college or high school, you have a test in 10 days, how did you study?
Oftentimes, how people handled their work in school will show how they handle their work tasks. This is crucial because if someone isn’t built to plan things out in advance, it can throw off the entire workflow of their team. Conversely, if someone likes to plan things out, they won’t last long in a role where every decision or action is done on the fly.
For Admin/Operations & Social Media Positions: You want someone who is a planner. Someone who is organized and detail-oriented.
Sample Answer: “If I knew I had a test in 10 days, I would break the days up and study section by section so that way by day 9 all I have to do is a quick review before test day.” This person is clearly prepared before test day. They have great project management skills and will make sure everything is prepared days/weeks in advance.
For Sales & Marketing Positions: You want someone who is a deadline driven procrastinator and quick thinker. Someone who can handle pressure and can think on the fly.
Sample Answer: “If I knew I had a test in 10 days, I would probably study the day before or the morning of test day.” This person is clearly unprepared for what is coming their way. This is not a problem because in sales you never know how prospects /clients are going to respond. For marketing, they will need to be able to get projects done last minute.
Be Strategic With Your Questions if you want to hire a Unicorn
People often ask questions like, “Why are you drawn to this role?” or “What makes you want to work here?” during interviews. Blah blah blah. Same questions, but just a different company asking them. There is no uniqueness to get real answers and get to know the individual on a deeper level.
So, create questions that will show you their personality, work ethic, and organizational skills. Ask questions they can’t prepare for, this will decrease your turnover and will improve your clients’ experiences working with your Unicorn :)