Waze cofounder explains the 2 questions he asks a job candidate's reference

Speaking with a job candidate's references can be a crucial step in determining if they're the right fit for a position. Uri Levine, co-founder of the traffic and navigation app Waze, has a few trusted questions he relies on during this process, as discussed in an episode of "Lenny's Podcast" released Sunday. 

"During the hiring process, we often interview candidates and form an impression of them, but we don't really know," Levine explained. "This is where speaking with a reference, someone who truly knows the candidate, becomes important."

Levine keeps his questions straightforward when engaging with an applicant's references. "Would you hire him or her?" he inquires. If the response is affirmative, he follows up with, "Why didn't you?"

In some cases, the decision is clear-cut. "Once, I was asked for a reference about someone I highly admired and enjoyed working with," Levine recounted. "When asked for a half-hour call, I was pressed for time due to travel. So, I responded with, 'If you want it in one word, take the guy.' The inquirer pushed for two words, and I said, 'Yeah, take the guy fast.' When you're certain, you just know."

Levine also shared additional hiring advice from his recent book, "Fall in Love With the Problem, Not the Solution: A Handbook for Entrepreneurs." One of his strategies is the "30-day test," where he marks his calendar 30 days after hiring to reassess whether he'd still make the same hiring decision. If the answer is no, it's likely best to part ways, according to Levine.

Levine did not immediately respond to a request for comment.  

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