3 tips to nail your next startup interview

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Excited about the upcoming interview at your dream startup? Want to make sure you land the job? Here are some simple, yet effective, ways to achieve just that. Hold on... but why should you trust this information? Here’s why: I had five interviews last week, of which four were with start-ups. Two of them ended in job offers and the rest progressed to work assignments. That makes it a 100 per cent success rate. So here are some startup interview tips tips I have gathered from both personal experience and information collected from long-time startup recruiters.

Do your homework

Find out what the startup does, understand their market, identify their competitors, strategies and outlook. Check out their work in your area of interest. Get a sense of how much leeway the startup has in terms of funding. A common complaint by recruiters is that majority of applicants have very little knowledge of the companies they apply to. Keep in mind that startups look for self-learners, therefore you need to conduct your research accordingly. Take out time to find out the industry average for the position you are applying for. It is a little known fact that you can actually negotiate your pay with most startups, but remember that the workload may increase with compensation. Figure out what stock options and burn rate mean, in case they do offer you a job.

My homework: When I applied for a content-based job, I researched the blog and the language used on the company website to gain a better understanding of their operations and audience.

Understand your priorities

Most often you are asked to state your priority list during interviews. Is learning your top most priority? Or is it pay? What about mentoring? How important are good work culture and work-life balance to you? It is true that our priorities may change at different points in our careers. Take out time to decide what ranks high on your list at present. Having a lucid answer to this question will give you an edge over other applicants as it shows focus and clarity in thought.

Is learning your top most priority? Or is it pay? What about mentoring? How important are good work culture and work-life balance to you?

My priorities: Find a startup where I could learn the most and earn at par with the top performing bracket of my industry.

Know what to ask them

Good startups encourage potential employees to be curious and ask them questions. Look at it as a two-way street, where both the startup and you are trying to find the best fit by asking the right questions. To be able to ask effective questions, be sure to do some research. If done right, it not only leaves a good impression, but it also gives you crucial information about your potential employer.

My questions: What is the long-term strategy of the team that I am applying to? What steps are being taken to implement it? Are there facing any problems right now? What is the size and experience level of the team I am applying to? What is the profile of the person who is going to be my leader/manager?

The more confident you are, you are lesser likely to falter. Just like cricketers do extensive net practice specific to the opposite team’s game plan before a big game; following these basic tips will increase your chances of acing any startup interview.


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