The pros and cons of joining a startup job have been presented to you in the article - Pros and Cons of Joining a Startup Right Out of College. Let us just say that you have weighed your options and decided to join a startup because you are the type of person who wants to stand out of the crowd and be a game changer. What next? How do you pick the right job? You have a wide range of options when it comes to startup jobs. So the problem is not about finding a job. It is about finding the right job. So I thought why not give you a bunch of useful pointers to help you find the right startup job.Background check
It is always useful to do a background check about a startup. Start by checking their website. See if you like what they are up to as a company. Check for media coverage of the startup. Do they have credentials? Do a background check on the founder probably on Linkedin. See if you are able to talk to an ex-employee because talking to an ex-employee would be the best way to assess a startup. You will also get a better idea of their work culture. In case, it is a startup that is a initial stage startup even without a website then meeting the founder would be the best thing to do.
With or without a company website, it is always best to meet the founder of any startup. It is important to see if the founder has clarity about what he/she wants to do. There are lot of chances that a startup might shut down later but the important thing is to know if the founder is clear about his/her vision for the company. Also, check if the founder has done enough groundwork studying the market to substantiate the idea. This is important to see if the founder is serious enough to place the idea against the market and accept the reality of it all. This is often not the case with many founders who get carried about by the idea and forget to actually see if the idea is a valid one. In that case, you will end up losing the job even before you have it. If they are able to make you see their vision with a reality check then you might be moving one step closer to getting your dream startup job.
Are you aligned to the Founder’s vision?
It is extremely crucial to ask yourself this question. Are you aligned to the founder’s vision? Do you believe in the cause of the startup? Only if the answers to these two questions are yes, you should join the company. If you decide to join the company in spite of a no for one or both those questions then are chances that you might not stick on for very long in that company. In a closely knit environment like a startup, it might be hard to work on something that you don’t believe in after sometime. You might want to check on this long before you decide to join a company.
What is your role and what are the terms of this role?
Let us say that the founder has shown you that vision that you believe in. You really want to join the company. You want to give a ‘yes’ right away. I would say – ‘Hold it!’Ask me why. It is because you need to clearly define your roles and responsibilities and the terms of this employment before you say yes. Why so? There are several reasons. Firstly, you need to know your role with amount of clarity because you will be required to work on many things in a startup. It is important to understand your primary role although you will be doing other jobs as well. This will be helpful in assessing your progress over time. Secondly, it is a startup so there are no guarantees of the company being around for long. You need to discuss terms because you need some kind of assurance like the pay you get, will you get a stake etc depending on your role in the company. Set clear deliverables for yourself along with the founder preferably along with monetary incentives. There may be times when you might not get your salary on time. You should also agree on those terms of working in a startup as well. Don’t let it be a shocker to you later on.
Having said all the above pointers, the most important one for me so far has been my intuition. Follow your intuition also to some extent to help you in deciding the best startup job for you.