Interviewing with Startups? Here's What Employers Are Looking For
Updated: Oct 9
1. RISK TAKING ABILITY
By the virtue of being a startup, the founders exemplify a high risk taking attitude. Nothing great was ever achieved in your comfort zone and thus interviewers are looking for actions (not words) where you’ve done so in the past. There are very few who’ve actually waked the talk, and those are the hires that align better.
Early stage startups, with limited resources and talent pool expects one to don multiple hats and add value wherever possible, across domains. That’s where multifaceted individuals who have a diverse experience score higher.
3. AMBIGUITY TOLERANCE
Startups are high energy, chaotic places. They expect you to sustain ambiguity and yet deliver meaningful, high impact work. Thus, ambiguity tolerance becomes a necessary qualifier for a successful stint with a startup.
4. PROBLEM SOLVING APPROACH
Interviewers look for neither problem identifiers nor critical analysts. What is required are problem solvers who will find solutions, jump into the pit, get their hands dirty, and mend what’s broken for good.
5. INNOVATION QUOTIENT
Innovation is key or I might say, synonymous with startups. The bedrock of a startup, its ideation and evolution is based upon an idea that no one thought of before. Not only initially, but in the long-run, startups need to be continuously innovating to sustain in an unpredictable and often unexplored categories that they are themselves creating.
6. LEARNING AGILITY
A steep learning curve distinguishes a startup from a stable, established setup. With multiple opportunities available at hand and a new challenge turning up every day, there’s lots to do and explore provided there’s a willingness to learn, innovate and deliver. It’ll be a difficult road, with stretched working hours but the return on your investment (time) shall definitely be worth it.
7. VISION ALIGNMENT
Inorder to succeed in a startup you need to truly align with the idea and the problem that it’s trying to solve. Identifying with the problem at hand and truly believing that solving it for your customers is the kick that will drive you that no salary or designation can offer. Startups look for people chasing a shared belief and it’s in the best interest of both to get into an employment contract only when the organization's vision resounds with the individual’s personal belief.