Working at a startup can be an exciting career move that can tremendously increase your experience and value as a worker. As with any job in any industry, nailing the interview can be difficult — so here are three startup-specific tips and tricks for individuals looking to break into the hip and exciting world of startups.
1. Know the ecosystem
One recommended startup question is, “If things don’t work out with this interview what are three other companies in the city that you’ll be applying for/craving to work at?” Instead of listing big-name or top-tier companies, know how to discuss the other startups in your area with knowledge and enthusiasm. Naming big-box companies will make you look as though you are either inclined for a position as a lifer with little desire to move up, or that you merely want a well-recognized name on your resume, or you have no idea what a startup even is and you just need to pay the bills. All three are instant turnoffs.
Every company wants to hire people who are interested in their industry and the details of the position, and startups are no different. Why wouldn’t you want an opportunity to help a rising company succeed? When you interview be enthusiastic and show that you want to contribute to the bigger picture and not just ride on the coattails of an already accomplished company.
2. Try the product
Many SaaS (software as a service) businesses offer a free trial of their product or service as part of their customer acquisition strategy. If you can, download the product and be ready to offer your opinion on it. Prove that you are the most viable candidate for the job — and what better way is there to do that than to familiarize yourself with the product? Use the product if it is offered and present something — it shows dedication and commitment. Take advantage of every chance, big and small, and make a lasting (and positive!) impression on your interviewer.
3. Go digital
Many startups are firmly integrated with digital solutions and marketing. If you aren’t familiar with various social media sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, or Google+, begin building a presence for yourself. It will not only help you with your personal branding but will prove to your interviewer that you know the space. Check out the social sphere for the industry or startup you’re interested in, and understand where you are planning to land. Mentioning influencing organizations related to the company will boost your worth significantly.
When you’re interviewing, be prepared to demonstrate that you’ll give the job your all. Many startups require workers to put in long hours to get things done — so know that comes with the territory. Regardless of whether your interview is face to face or a digital interview, go in prepared. Make sure you’re ready to put your best foot forward and demonstrate that you provide real value and a cultural fit with the company.