Interviewing in a startup is different from interviewing in a large, established business. Mainly, because in a startup, you will more than likely have a face to face sit down with the founder, something that doesn’t necessarily happen in larger companies. As a result of that, you may find the questions you are asked to be somewhat different.
Here are some questions that the founder of a startup may just ask you…
“Why do you want to work here?”
This may seem like an easy question, but your answer will really say a lot. You have to remember that if you’re being interviewed by the founder of a company, then you are interviewing with the person with the most passion within the business. That person sitting in front of you more than likely eats, sleeps, and breathes the company, so make sure you’re enthusiastic about why you’re there in the first place. Do your research, learn about the company values and plans, and talk about why they excite you.
“What can you bring to the table?”
Okay, great. You have established that you want to work in this exciting startup, and you have explained your reasons. But, what can you bring to the table? Basically, why should you be hired over other candidates? Take this opportunity to, for want of a better phrase, toot your own horn. Talk about your experience, your qualifications, and anything else you may see as a benefit to the business you’re interviewing with.
“How would your friends describe you?”
Startup founders will ask all sorts of questions in attempts to ascertain whether or not you’ll be a good culture fit for the business. But, very few get to the core of the matter as well as this question does. The answer should make sense in relation to the role. Think about it, if you are applying for a role in Marketing, and your friends call you creative – that will look great. If you are applying for an HR role, and your friends describe you as creative, it may not make as much sense.
“If you are unsuccessful today, what will you do?”
This is always an interesting question and one I have been asked a few times in my career to date. Your answer will give the interviewer an idea of what kind of person you are, how you deal with adversity, and the kind of outlook you have. When you work for a startup, there will be highs and lows, much like in life. How you deal with those dips will be the making of you as a member of the team. Answer carefully, make sure you have a plan B.
“What is the best advice you have received?”
When working for a startup, you will of course need to be fearlessly innovative, but you also need to be willing to receive advice, guidance, and constructive criticism. So, don’t be surprised if a startup founder asks you to share some of the best advice you’ve heard lately. It’s a great way for them to gauge how receptive you are to input, and what messages actually stick with you and make an impact.
“How would you improve our product?”
No product is perfect, and any founder of any company knows that. In a startup, hires will be visionaries, who challenge and question elements of the business, in the hopes of improving the product – getting it where it needs to be. Most startups aren’t just looking for someone who can keep things on track—they want someone who will innovate.
Be sure to keep a close eye on Silicon Canals jobs for even more exciting opportunities.
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