Q&A Hacks: How to Master Your Startup Interview

Nov 30, 2017

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Much like taxes or Simon Cowell, interviews are considered one of life’s necessary evils. But the good news is they don’t have to be as daunting as you might think. With a few interview hacks, you can give yourself the best possible chance of navigating your way to a dream startup job.

Perfect Preparation

Though no two interviews are the same, there are a few simple steps that can leave you feeling prepared every time.

Have a friend or family member ask you a few practise questions to fine tune your answers. And make sure they don’t hold back. The harder is it now, the easier it’ll be come interview day. Here are just a few to get you started:

· What can you tell me about your previous experience?

· What would you bring to the role that no one else would?

· Where do you see yourself in five years?

· What are your greatest strengths?

· What appealed to you about working here?

These firm favourites pop up in 99.9% of interviews, startup or otherwise, so get ahead and know your answer like the back of your hand.

Do Your Research

Even more so than big scale companies, startups look for people who can assume responsibility and propel their business forward. So take some time to research your startup and think of a few ideas for how they can improve. Can they be exploring new market opportunities? Could they improve their online presence? If so, tell them. It’ll show them just how useful an addition you would be.

Lost For Words

Worried about waffling? Fear not. Here are three easy rules to ensure you never get tongue tied again:

Answer the question.

Sounds simple doesn’t it? Well you’d be surprised how many interviewees don’t do it. Take a second to clarify what you’re being asked before launching in.

Be succinct.

Don’t use ten words when one word will do. Clear answers not only demonstrate intelligence but confidence too.

Nobody likes a cliché.

We’ve all seen those cringe worthy candidates on the Apprentice. Leave your ‘I’m a perfectionist’ spiel at the door.

Sell Yourself

Remember, interviews are not the time for modesty. So if you have achievements or qualifications that you’re particularly proud of, don’t be shy. Use your answers to show them off. Startups require all manner of skills and abilities so you never know which of yours may prove useful.

Turn the Tables

It’s an interview, not an interrogation. So make sure you seize your chance to suss out your startup with some questions of your own.

As per usual, preparation is key. Have a few questions up your sleeve that will establish what you want to know. Here are some to get you going.

· Is this a new position?

· Is there potential for growth and development?

· How would you describe this startup’s ethos?

· What would be my day to day responsibilities?

Though most interviewers will leave space at the end of the interview for any questions, there’s nothing wrong with seizing the initiative much earlier. It’ll help your meeting feel less like an inquisition and more like a conversation.

But when asking questions, it pays to be specific. A well phrased query will not only highlight your enthusiasm, understanding and attentiveness, it will also help you to establish whether this startup and its staff are right for you. After all, you may have to attend a Christmas party with these people.

For more ideas, check out our post on how to find the startup that’s right for you.

And Remember…

Interviewers are only human and, without fail, they want you to succeed. So think of your interview as the perfect opportunity to show them exactly what they’ve been missing. Need a hint? It’s you.

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