Questions to ask in a startup interview

Having worked in a company that was one of the best and had even been voted as one of the “Best Places to Work”, it wasn’t really an easy decision to quit and start on my own. Before I decided to take off on my own, I had a word with some investors and had numerous exchanges with a handful of CEOs too. And then came the scariest part – HIRING the right team.

Armed with my own experiences and know-how, here are some nuggets of wisdom to all of you who wish to join a startup. Ask and you shall receive the answers! Here are some questions you should consider asking your employer:

What do you expect me to complete in the first quarter?
Almost everyone thinks they have come from a high pressure, fast turnaround environment, till they actually start working for a startup! Here priorities change by the day. The whole direction could be steered in an all new way in just a week. Make your interviewer give this question a thought and delve into details. This will also give you an opportunity to ask smart follow-up questions about the work you would likely be doing the day you step in.

What KPIs are earmarked for me and how would I be evaluated?
Enquiring about your performance review shows that you have the confidence and the ability not only to think you’ll get the job, but also to do whatever is expected to be a high achiever. Also, this is a practical question to ask. The way a startup executive looks at success may be very varied from your previous employer. Get to know what the employer expects from you and also learn about the priorities of your future seniors all at the same time.

Do you see my skill sets as suitable for this position or is it vice versa?
Now this one’s actually loud and bold! But when addressed with panache and élan, would go on to showcase how you have a sense of humor and add some levity to the interview. You want your interviewer to see your drive, determination and confidence and you also want to put them in a position where they see you as a natural fit and hire you on the spot.

Who are our biggest competitors?
This question makes the interviewer think as tough you’ve been hired and are accepting the organization as your own. This also goes on to showcase your thinking prowess as a leader. That you are someone who knows how to put the company first. In the startup world, this comes as prerequisite as leaders are forged in fire. Demonstrate that you’re ready to take on the world from day one.

What is your leadership style?
Get your interviewer to talk about herself/himself. There’s no one who doesn’t enjoy speaking about themselves! People always like to discuss their accomplishments and by asking about a specific leadership style you’re readying the interviewer to hit a home run, patting themselves on the back all the way around the bases.
There are other questions you can ask, but it is equally important to listen closely. What is more important is to pay attention to their responses and how each individual answers the questions. From their responses, you can identify if the company and you are a fit for each other.
If you are going to join a startup, you should not only be totally sure that you are passionate about the company’s vision and product, you should also be 200% excited to work with the founders, investors and potential colleagues. Your time is valuable. It is the one asset you cannot make back, so it’s critical to be protective of your time and spend that time with the people you’re not only excited to learn from but grow with.

The Buddha’s tenet for modern day sales strategies – Part II

Closing a sale takes time

 

Every time I pick up the phone and call or come up with a Sales campaign, it takes anywhere few days to few weeks to at least see some measurable results. And it takes weeks and months to optimize to a point where I can get a cost per lead/ conversion cost. People see the results not the point where is actually started the process. It’s like weight loss infomercial. You don’t see the people going to gyms, you just see the before and after result in one second split image.

Buddha had simply stated the fact that it takes drop by drop to fill the jug.

People don’t see the countless hours of endless emails, non-stop calls, fine-tuning, testing, media creation, and all that hard stuff no one wants to do.
So stop focusing on these “I need results NOW” and focus on the little things that eventually accumulate to a big thing. All good things come to those who wait and have the patience to see the real outcome. Don’t be in a hurry, wait and watch for yourself how patience can help you achieve a lot more in business.

The Buddha said be Attached while you are detached
You only lose what you cling to – Buddha

If you are one or have had the opportunity to meet a new entrepreneur or marketer, you will not escape the feeling that they’re often in “LOVE” with their ideas. They put in their heart and soul and get into a complete vacuum to bring this idea alive even if the idea is not validated or it’s a product that no one needs or wants.

What happens is anybody’s guess. The business goes kaput.

The entrepreneurs so in love with their ideas and invention were stuck on the idea of the event and not the process. In such a scenario they lose hope as well as motivation.

Instead, why not lay emphasis and focus on bettering yourself and becoming a better marketer? Throw your ideas around and test them to see if people are willing to pay for them, instead of using all that time and money to make something you THINK people want?

But the most important part is to DETACH yourself from what happens and not get attached to the idea in the first place.

If the idea fails, move on quickly. Don’t dwell in it. Pick up pointers and learn from what happened and try again. There is no dearth of good ideas out there. Pull yourself up and do it again.