Written by Ryan Tseng, CEO & Co-founder
At Shield AI, we are concerned with what our Partner, Brian Losey, calls Big Thinking. We aspire to meet audacious goals in our mission to protect service members, first responders and civilians with artificially intelligent systems. While we spend our days engineering innovations in state of the art technology, we believe that the first step in achieving our mission starts with our people -- providing our team with the resources, support, training and career development that they need in order to reach their full potential.
Our leadership team is committed to equipping every Shield AI employee with the tools they need to perform at their highest level. In practice, we achieve this by holding formal career development seminars and providing each employee with a mentor. We also invest in our team informally through constant conversations about how we can contribute to our utmost and what we require to do so.
That said, I believe that the first step for a person to achieve high performance, is for the individual to set out to become great. Achieving greatness requires such an outsized amount of effort by the individual, that without a personal commitment to the journey it is near-impossible to achieve, no matter the level of support. Motivations must be genuine, and they must be thoroughly considered. For these reasons, as part of the Shield AI interview, I ask every candidate certain questions.
I’ve found these particular questions spark worthwhile conversation and illuminate what motivates and inspires a candidate. They require the individual to thoroughly think through important, challenging concepts and to critically reflect upon themselves and the people with whom they want to work and sweat and grow. I share these questions up front because I want people to be prepared to discuss these concepts at length and in detail without the added challenge of providing an answer on the spot.
Seven key questions for Shield AI candidates:
What are your life goals and what have you done to achieve them so far? How will you continue to work towards them? Do you have all the resources, skills and foundations you need in order to achieve your goals? If not, what do you need to develop further?
How would you describe your conduct at work? Based on what you have done thus far, are you confident that at the end of your career you’ll be able to look back and reflect, “I’m proud of the way conducted myself”? Why?
Who is the highest performing person that you have ever worked with? Is their performance superior to yours in any way? If so, how? What can you be doing to improve your performance to become more similar to this person you admire?
Can you quantify your track record of excellence with specific examples? Of those examples, in any were you able to produce extraordinary results with minimal resources? How did you achieve this?
With regard to work ethic, do you believe hard work is the norm or the exception? What steps do you take to motivate yourself to continue to take on challenging commitments?
What are your values? What standards do you hold yourself to both personally and professionally? What do you expect of your colleagues?
Imagine yourself at the perfect company in the perfect job. What is it like? What are you doing? Who are you with?