Startups are getting a lot of attention with job seekers for their innovation, growth trajectory and the sheer opportunity to be part of something with the potential to change the world. But, while startups have a great deal of appeal, it’s important to realize that not every startup is created equal.As with any new business, startups can be filled with a unique set of growing pains—especially in the early stages. From determining the ideal target audience and becoming profitable, to hiring the right talent, the business is guaranteed to evolve over the course of time. Even the most well-funded startups are bound to face a few bumps in the road. Whether it’s organizational structure or overall direction, these changes that can feel like a shock, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the ebbs and flows of the startup world.
We love startups for so many reasons. But, before accepting a position at a young organization, it’s important to be prepared. Here are a handful of questions everyone should ask during a job interview, before working for a startup.
Here are seven questions to ask before accepting a job offer at a startup:7 Vital Questions to Ask Before Accepting a Startup Job Offer, by @CarverPetersonC Click To Tweet
Who is the executive leadership?
Aligning yourself with great leadership is a huge career accelerator, and finding work that corresponds with your passion and purpose will make a huge impact on your professional life long-term. Before accepting a position with a startup, find out who is in charge of the organization—from key investors and board members to the executive leadership team. Finding out who is backing and inspiring the mission of the organization will help you know if it’s the right fit.Aligning yourself with great leadership is a huge career accelerator, says @CarverPetersonC Click To Tweet
How is the company being financed?
Figure out what capital is funding the organization. Kickstarter, angel investors, or personal wealth, it’s important to have an understanding of the financial situation of the business. Don’t be afraid to ask the timeline for when the company is expected to be “in the black” if it isn’t already (though be prepared to expect the unexpected).
What is the company’s overarching purpose?
Businesses that live by their missions and purposes tend to attract more loyal customers, and more loyal employees. Aligning yourself with a company that practices its purpose every day will make sure your satisfaction in the workplace thrives throughout your tenure.Align yourself with a company that practices its purpose every day, says @CarverPetersonC Click To Tweet
What are the company’s short and long term expectations for growth?
Finding out the goal of the organization will make it easier to understand the short and long term agenda of the executive team. If the goal is to grow quickly then be acquired, then the environment will be much different than a business looking to gain market share over the course of a decade. Understanding the expectations from day one will put the employment experience into perspective.A company's plan for growth will reveal insights on the employment experience - @CarverPetersonC Click To Tweet
How do they measure employee success?
This is a question that will not only impress hiring managers, but the answer will tell you a lot about the culture of the organization. Find out if they conduct employee reviews, what the company performance expectations are and how promotions are awarded. Make sure you have a clear understanding for the company’s communication policy before moving forward.
Is there a defined sales process?
While this question may only be relevant to those in sales roles, the sales process of an organization does impact its ultimate success. Inquire as to how territories are assigned, the company’s approach to new business development and the sales cycle.
Is there structured onboarding?
Find out upfront if the company has a training program in place, or if you will be expected to apply your own expertise to the position. While some individuals are perfectly comfortable carving their own paths, others may prefer the guidance that onboarding provides. Make sure you are informed upfront (keep in mind that many startups don’t offer structured onboarding).Many startups don't have structured onboarding. Inquire upfront. - @CarverPetersonC Click To Tweet
Before accepting any position at an organization, it’s important to be educated about the business as a whole. Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions to ensure that you are comfortable moving forward with employment. Companies are going to great lengths to find the right talent for their business, so understand your value. Remember, while you may be the one working for them, the business must also work for you.
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About Carver Peterson Consulting:
Carver Peterson’s executive coaching, sales training and leadership development solutions help businesses drive revenue and maximize profitability by improving operational efficiency, effectiveness and engagement. Carver Peterson’s strengths-based leadership approach is designed to capitalize on the competitive advantages of an organization, while empowering the unique talents of its employees. Based in Chicago, Carver Peterson is well-equipped to help businesses reach their ultimate potential, regardless of the location.
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