What Not to Do When Interviewing with a Startup

Wed, Apr 7, 2021 5:19 AM
By Ibrahim Cisse

Interviews are often awkward, stressful and somewhat impossible to prepare for. You can memorize your elevator pitch, resume and talking points but then you risk sounding like a robot rather than an actual human. And when it comes down to it, you can’t be certain you’ll get the position.
Regardless of your concerns and the expectation you might presume exist, we’re here to help make your next interview go a little smoother than the last. Based on the experiences of many who came before you, here’s a list of “What Not To-Do’s” when interviewing with a startup.
Avoid a Long, Robotic Tangent

As unfortunate as it may be, interviews are your chance to sell yourself. Elevator pitches are your friend but don’t think about memorizing a factual and boring paragraph or two. Name a prior position, an anecdote, or two that highlight challenges you overcame that make you a great candidate for the position you’re applying for. Most importantly, end it with what you’re looking to accomplish next.
Employers want to feel a sense of purpose, vision and mission in who you are as a professional, especially since they’re a startup. There’s a tenacity and will rooted in people working in and running startups, and this is the perfect opportunity for you to showcase your own.
Stop Talking About “We”

Teams are great and without them many wouldn’t have accomplished all that they have thus far. So when it comes to an interview, you’ll want to draw on those team accomplishments. But most importantly, you’ll want to address your individual contributions that made you and your team successful. Next time you’re talking about your prior position as it pertains to the role you’re currently applying for focus on what you did and why it matters.
Employers will ask questions geared to learn more about your teamwork skills. When they ask about what you’ve done in the past, avoid saying what we did. Tell them what you did. Tell them what achieved, about your contributions to problem-solving and company accomplishments so you give your skills their shining moment.
Don’t : Avoid Asking Questions

If a company sat you down for an interview, asked you a couple of questions like “What’s your name,” “Where’d you worked last,” and ended with, “Well, you’re hired!” would you not be at least a little suspicious? I think that’d send most people running. Stop saying, “Nothing comes to mind” when employers ask you if you have any questions.
Not having questions is the equivalent of saying, “I don’t care.” Prior research, interest in learning about the company’s goals, accomplishments, prior obstacles, and the industry itself should come naturally. Startups that have been around and thriving for years with all information publicly available. Ask your questions to show interest, learn more for your own concern and security and to show some genuine interest in your potential future employer. As a bonus, questions demonstrate your passion for the business and knowledge. 

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