How to Ace your Job Interview with a Start-Up

BY Elisabetta Santopolo

When it comes to job search, defining “what” to search for - an interesting position in line with your career path – is usually easier than defining where - the place where you will physically or virtually spend most of your days, the environment that will support and boost your growth, the people you’ll challenge, help and interact with the culture that will shape the way you deliver tasks.

Assuming you have the knowledge and competence required for a position offered in a start-up, here are three key aspects to convey during your job interview with a recruiter: 

  1. Always show how eager you are Regardless of your background, consolidated experience and knowledge, and expertise acquired along the way, you must demonstrate your willingness to learn more. Recruiters seek self-starters and will be impressed with stories highlighting your proactive endeavors. As such, any examples of ways in which you contributed by offering solutions or improvements will do wonders, as will evidence of you experimenting or taking on new responsibilities. Leverage your previous experience, but go beyond that. Show your curiosity and ability to analyze with a new and fresh perspective.

  2. Show your flexibilityStart-ups are eager to find well-organized and schematic professionals able to anticipate issues and obstacles. So during your interview, make sure you demonstrate your problem-solving skills, your ability to answer questions quickly and anticipate the unexpected. In other words, let recruiters know that you adapt easily! Let them know you understand that a fast-paced environment requires employees who can respect deadlines, can adapt, and contribute. Start-ups need team members who don’t give up, who can prioritize and think of alternatives.

  3. Communicate assertively  – Start-ups are usually informal and friendly, with daily interactions with your peers and manager, so it is important that you convey how easily communication comes to you.  Recruiters look for people who aren’t afraid to share their opinion or contribute. They look for people who will make a difference, even during their job interview! Expressing yourself in a clear and concise way in your interview will help the recruiter see how you will communicate on the job, how you will work with your people of different seniority and from different departments. A job interview at a start-up is also a good place to show off your negotiation skills and show how you can communicate with people who might not speak your (technical) language.

    From the moment you decide to look for a new opportunity to the moment when you update your CV and get ready for an interview with a start-up, make sure you ask yourself the right questions, find examples from your personal and professional life that will make you look relatable, and let the recruiter know your profile is a good fit for the rollercoaster ride that is life at an up-and-coming start-up!

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