Fast-Growing App Whisper Asks All Job Candidates This One Question, And They'd Better Have The Right Answer

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whisper michael heyward

Business Insider/Alyson Shontell

Whisper CEO Michael Heyward (left) with an employee.

Michael Heyward, 26, is the founder of fast-growing secret-sharing app Whisper. He currently has 32 employees and he's pretty picky about who he hires. Two of his most recent gets include former Gawker traffic guru Neetzen Zimmerman and former Hulu VP Eric Yellin.

Heyward says his ideal hire is exceptionally motivated. "They don't have to work 17-hour days, but they should want to work 17-hour days," Heyward says.

How does he find people who will be workaholics for Whisper? Heyward says his new favorite question to ask candidates is:

"If Whisper were based in Ohio, would you still want to work here?"

(Heyward says he has nothing against Ohio, he just wants to weed out candidates who are only after the app's sunny headquarters).

The correct answer is, of course, "yes." 

One person who impressed Heyward was a man from England who saw Heyward give an interview with Jason Calacanis. 

The person said he really liked Heyward's mission and while he didn't have a visa, he said he'd "move mountains" to obtain one and work for Whisper.

"That person would definitely move to Ohio for Whisper," Heyward said with a smile.

One candidate who did not impress Heyward mentioned a significant other who lived in LA. That made it sound like Whisper was just convenient because of its location, not a must-have job opportunity.

Multiple Whisper employees have moved from New York to Los Angeles just for Whisper. Zimmerman is one example. Heyward met another Whisper employee at a New York conference. Heyward was impressed by her background and offered her a job on the spot. Shortly after, the woman quit her Morgan Stanley job and moved across the country for Whisper. Heyward says she is a rock star who can be found in the office until all hours of night. For employees who do relocate, they can crash at Whisper's headquarters until they find an apartment.



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