Act like a venture capitalist.
This means you need to be ruthless with interview questions. Don’t hold back. Get as many details as possible from every founder and employee.
Why do I say this?
I’ve worked for close to ten startups all of which have lied to me in some way. This is to be expected.
It makes sense. The founders are under tremendous pressure to convince high-level talent to join their team.
And when things get bad, they’ll do whatever they can to motivate you.
- Talk about how easy it is to get more funding.
- Talk about KPIs that don’t matter.
With that said, every startup I’ve worked for has been better than the last. I owe that to the one key action of asking more questions. That’s it.
To help you, here’s a list of questions you’ll want to ask:
“Do the founders have relevant domain expertise to what they’re selling?”
“Are the founders passionate enough about solving their customer’s problem to work on their product for another five years?”
“Have the founders failed with previous startups?”
“Have the founders or marketing employees helped scale a company before as a key employee or founder of an early-stage startup?”
“If yes, did they use hacks to scale or rely on evergreen marketing principles such as creating epic content?”
“Do they rely on paid or organic acquisition channels for scaling their traction?”
“Are the employees motivated to solve their customer’s problem?”
“Are there employees who you can learn from and willing to teach you?”
“Is this company solving a problem deeply important to me?”
“Would I hang out with the founders and employees after work?”
I hope these questions help you, at least, as much as they’ve helped me.