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How to nail your startup interview

how to nail a startup interview

A corporate job might pay you more, but the learning and responsibilities that comes with working for startups is unparalleled, and that’s why more and more people are vying for these jobs.

But why should startups hire you? If you’re not bringing the right characteristics, traits and skills, you’re unlikely to land the job. So, what do interviewers look for? Everything – from the clothes you wear, to the content of the interview and even the vibe you bring.

Read on to learn why startup interviews are different and how you can adapt:

Do your research about the company – Sure, you know a thing or two about unicorns and billion dollar startups, but have you heard about the little-known company that’s developing world-class geo location technology?

Doing your research isn’t limited to scanning their website or doing a quick Google search. Use their products and read reviews to determine their reputation and market value. It will also help you make proactive suggestions that will help you standout, especially if the role is in great demand.

Be prepared to punch above your weight – Skills and knowledge will only get you so far. Startups value confidence and ambition much more. So, even if you think you don’t qualify for the job – the right attitude and the willingness to take on something outside of your comfort zone may clinch the deal. A word of caution here – there’s a fine line between confidence and cockiness, so showing humility will help to strike the right balance.

Dress appropriately – Most startups have a rather casual culture and don’t be surprised to see your interviewer wearing shorts. That doesn’t mean you can turn up in a similar fashion, but it also doesn’t mean you should be dressed to the nines or flaunt your luxury fashion labels (remember: we talked about being humble).

Use these industry appropriate dress-up tips to make the right impression.

Show the startup spirit – Corporate culture values people who play by the book, and want steady lives. This does not imply that you will living on the edge if you take up a startup job, however, candidates who show that they’re willing to hustle, take risks and find ways to get things done are more likely to win over their interviewers.

Ask the right questions – Whether it’s about the job, the company’s products or culture, startups would love for you to ask questions and challenge the status quo. In fact, not asking questions is a sure shot way for you to land in the rejected pile. If you have trouble thinking on the spot, then come prepared with a list of tailored questions.


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