I’ve got a fairly standardized process that I use when I’m interviewing people for positions I’m looking to fill. The questions vary slightly from position to position, but you can count on the fact that I will ask every person for each specific position, the exact same set of questions. And here’s an even bigger tip for potential applicants – I will always ask you what you know about Tucows and about the projects I’m working on.  
Do your homework or risk embarrassment.


I'm really serious about the answers I get to this question. The answers I get tell me so much about each candidate – moreso than any other question I ask. From this simple little question, I find out what kind of research skills they have, how passionate they might be, how creative they are, how internet-savvy they are, whether they are an ass-kisser or not (don’t tell me how great my blog is in an interview unless you actually read it. If you actually read it and like it that much, how come you’ve never left a comment, linked to me or sent me a followup email on a post?).

This question presents such a great opportunity for a candidate – an opportunity that 99% of candidates squander. Tucows is a public company, most of what we do is on the record. Financials, strategy, acquisition history, etc. Most candidates come in mumbling something about our shareware business.

Wrong freakin’ answer.

In the past, I’ve been fairly polite in the face of such answers, but after seeing this bit featured in an article about the absolute most basic mistakes you can avoid, I’m more likely to cut the interview short if I don’t like what I’m hearing when I ask this question.

Ross’ New Rule: When you come into an interview, you must be at least as prepared as me. If you aren’t expect me to take the interview as seriously as you did.