Be Sure to Ask These Questions During Your Startup Interview


Will your hard work and technical expertise be rewarded if you jump to a startup? Or will you be out on the street looking for a new job in three to six months? A recent study by Dallas-based bankruptcy law firm Allman Law found that more than 90 percent of all tech startups fail. The 10 percent that succeed have a few things in common. Primarily, they provide a service in high demand, are generally created by educated tech professionals and are flexible enough to shift with changes in the climate.

Naturally, it’s important to explore these areas when you meet with the founders. Do your homework and ask these questions to determine whether the opportunity is worth the risk.

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Is the Business Plan Viable?

Determine whether the company’s business strategy is logical, achievable and flexible enough to survive the ramp up period. Understanding where a startup is in its lifecycle can help you assess its progress and chances of success.

Is the Company Financially Stable?

You’ll need an in-depth understanding of the company’s financial health and backing to assess the risk. Be careful if the founders are unwilling to share financial information.

Is Management Capable?

Teams of two or three founders are the most likely to succeed while lone entrepreneurs are the most likely to fail. A small team has more collective skills as well as the ability to bounce ideas off each other and share the workload. Also, successful startups replaced one of their founders and added new board members within the first six years.

Will You Like the Environment?

One of the main reasons to join a startup is the opportunity to work with cutting edge technology. Don’t assume that you can wear flip-flops everyday or bring your dog to work.

How Much Will You Earn?

To assess the risk/reward quotient for your contributions, dig into the compensation structure and what you stand to make based on a range of likely scenarios. Note: Equity plans and taxes vary and they can be complex. For specific advice, consult a tax advisor or accountant before signing on.

Of course, working for a startup carries risk. But by asking these questions and carefully weighing what you learn from the answers, you can minimize your exposure – and gain the greatest reward if the company succeeds.

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