Interview Tips from a Start-Up Founder

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Image Source: Freepik

Author: Aditya Rajgarhia , CEO and Founder, Instahyre.com

Interviewing is a tough job. And when there are many qualified candidates applying for the same position as you are, it just gets tougher to stand out – especially in startups. If you’re targeting startups as your career path, an interview becomes more than just about presenting your accomplishments – it is about showcasing your skills in a compelling, memorable way that demonstrates to the company that you are really interested in joining them.

There could be a million articles out there, sharing tips on how to ace an interview but what really works can come only from two parties – either those who have actually gone through the grind or the hiring managers. Apart from sounding confident in the interview, startups really want you to be honest. Whether it is an opinion you have on the industry, or being modest about how much work you can really handle, we always encourage candidates to be upfront with their expectations.

Here are some tips on how you can convince a startup to hire you:

The interview

  • Respect time: Don’t ever be late for an interview – be ready a few minutes before schedule. Punctuality often determines the first impression you make!
  • Do your research: Know as much as possible about the company before you interview. Don’t improvise on the spot; research their products/ services, and visualise which ones you can help grow – and how. This helps in making you sound absolutely sure about why you’re there in the first place.
  • Learn about your role: Get a clear picture of what you’ll be doing at the company. Because often, the actual role ends up not matching what was written on the job description! Instead of going by what the HR department might have written, ask your interviews what they work on and what they like/dislike about the company.
  • Talk about their plans: But instead of just revolving the conversation about you, it is always a good idea to ask about the company’s future plans and what role you’d play in them. Find out beforehand the company’s competitors and ask them about how they’re different from the competition. This gives the impression that you’re interested in joining them for the long haul.
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The underlying clauses

  • Skill set: You could be a jack of all trades, but you really need to list down the ones you master and the ones you think can justify the position you’re applying for. The hiring manager may not directly ask you to list down your skills, but each of his questions are meant to gauge those you listed in your resume.
  • Cultural fit: Startups aim at hiring people with a similar thinking – be it the scope of the product, the way of working or for that matter, what they like doing post-work. The idea is to build a family that works together and grows together. Maintaining an inspired, motivated and relevant approach throughout the interview can help you come across as the cultural fit.
  • Team player: Every startup hiring manager is going to ask you to ‘own’ the position you’re applying for. But their underlying intention in getting an answer from you, is to check if you’re a team player or not. Don’t revolve your answers around how you can help the organization only, make sure you involve teamwork in achieving some of the goals.

Post interview

  • Don’t be greedy: Though everyone obviously has a minimum salary they want, beyond that you should look for the quality of work rather than the highest bidder. Most funded startups pay very competitive salaries, but they are primarily interested in hiring people who really want to join the company and share their vision.
  • Do your due diligence: Before signing the offer letter, ensure that it’s the right place for you. Ask the company about their work culture, benefits, and HR policies. Understand each component of the compensation, and get everything in writing to avoid disputes after joining.
  • Follow up: A startup is forever buzzing with activities, it is a good idea to drop an email to their hiring manager post a few days from the interview. This not just gives you an idea of where you stand, but also shows the startup that you’re actually interested in joining them.
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One thing that everyone needs to be aware of, are the vibes you draw from people on either sides of the interview table. Look for a startup that not just believes in awarding merit, but also respects an individual’s creative differences.

Disclaimer: This is a guest post. The statements, opinions and data contained in these publications are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of iamWire and the editor(s).

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