5 Ways to Evaluate a Startup During an Interview

Startup Interview

Interviews are two-way streets: Not only are they a chance for the company to check you out, it’s a chance for you to check out them. Here are five things to look for when you visit the office for a face-to-face.

1. Receptive Reception

Your first impression is based on the first person you see. A startup may not have a traditional receptionist, but how you’re greeted can tell you a lot about the company’s approach and culture.

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2. A Room With a View

Face-to-face interviews usually take place in the hiring manager’s office or a conference room. If it’s a conference room, see if it’s clean. The style of the furniture indicates a culture—heavy wood conference tables with leather chairs are a lot different than cubicle-styled tables and chairs.

The hiring manager’s office can tell you a lot about the manager. Clutter, pictures, cleanliness and what is put where can clue you into their working style.

3. The Interviewer Should Have Read Your Resume

They often haven’t. It shows that either they didn’t prep for your interview or they were thrown in to interview you with little notice. Either way, it tells a story about how the business is run and the priorities of management.

4. Multiple Appointments Are All Kept

Nothing like prepping and then running the interview gauntlet, only to be let down by half of your appointments for the day when they cancel. It sends a clear message that something obviously more important than you came up. Especially in today’s market, there’s no reason for a company’s personnel to treat your time as if it doesn’t matter.

5. You’re Clearly Informed About Next Steps

Great managers ensure that the next step is clearly laid out, including who will be doing it and when it needs to be done. Interviews are no different. The hiring manager should clearly lay out the next steps and the timeline. If you don’t find this out—or you need to ask—it shows a management team that perhaps doesn’t know how to follow through with their people on the work.

A lot of communication, it’s been noted, is non-verbal. The same can be said for the job interview. The company is showing you what it values and how it runs the place. It does that through how its people perform and where they take you for that very important first meeting.

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