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Start-up CEO and ex-Googler: The tricky interview questions I use to test candidates

WayUp co-founders Liz Wessel and JJ Fliegelman
Source: WayUp
WayUp co-founders Liz Wessel and JJ Fliegelman

Liz Wessel wants to know how flexible job candidates are before hiring them at her company WayUp, a site that connects students and recent grads with jobs at places like Uber, Microsoft and Google, where Wessel previously worked.

"Flexibility is so crucial when you're working in a fast-paced environment like a start-up because things change really quickly," the CEO and co-founder tells CNBC.

That's why her favorite line of interview questions to ask is designed to make job candidates uncomfortable.

Liz Wessel
Source: Liz Wessel
Liz Wessel

"I like to see how they react and whether they're able to stay calm," Wessel explains.

"I don't do this because it's fun — I do this because I want to see whether they can keep their composure and how they perform when they're out of their comfort zone, which is often the reality in the start-up world."

While she doesn't have one go-to question, Wessel uses various strategies to put candidates in an uncomfortable position and gauge their flexibility.

"Sometimes, I just push back on something they designed or created and play devil's advocate to see how they react to different opinions," she says. "Other times, I ask questions like, 'Why would someone not get along with you?'"

She's looking to see how they might rectify the situation, if at all: "Are they looking to improve on what they do that pisses others off, or do they just leave it as is?"