How We Hire: An inside look at our process
The only exception I would make to this process is the timing of the pre-interview survey, described here:
Before meeting, we send a candidate a quick 10-minute survey. This has two purposes:
1) It gives us context on the candidate before we meet. Why are they interested in our company? Why join a startup? What questions do they have for us?
2) It’s a pretty clear sign that someone isn't that excited about your company if they won’t spend 10 minutes to take your survey. This stops us from wasting time and lets us focus on folks who are very interested.
I would argue that at this stage it is fair that someone isn't that excited about your company. You may not be getting "folks who are very interested" so much as people who more open to a new opportunity -- for whatever reason.
Asking a prospective candidate to complete a questionnaire before they have had any live interaction with a member of your team may weed out some of your best prospects -- someone who is happy in his/her current role and very busy succeeding at it. Too busy succeeding that they don't really have the time to complete a questionnaire for an opportunity that has mildly piqued their interest.
The questionnaire may feel like jumping through a hoop; something you are asking them to do for your convenience rather than for their benefit.
If the prospect is that appealing, offer to have a 15 minute conversation allowing the person to ask questions. To best understand how to approach the conversation, start the call with "Why did you think it might be a good idea for us to talk?"
You may decide that you don't want to invest time in wooing candidates and are satisfied with the lower hanging fruit. This may be a realistic concession for where you are in your business and the time that you have to invest in recruiting, and can still result in great hires.