5 common startup interview mistakes
If you have been applying to graduate jobs in startups, then sooner or later someone is going to notice your CV. You tailored it to perfection, so they’re interested. You managed to reflect the articulate, intelligent person you are on paper when they phoned you, and you have the interview date in the diary. At this stage you need to take a deep breath, relax, and land that graduate job.
1. Failing to do your homework.
Because startups are small companies made up of people that are passionate about their field, showing that you have researched their company thoroughly will make a real impression. This might seem like a common piece of advice, but you would be surprised how many people think that a quick scroll through the website constitutes ‘research’. Take your time to check out the company and read over the job description to work out where your skills and strengths match their requirements. You should be able to explain what they do clearly and succinctly. Bonus points for naming competitors and how they differ.
You will do yourself no favours by attempting to lie about your knowledge and experience, or to misrepresent it (eh, Andrea?). It’s easily seen through and will eventually get you into an awkward situation involving you mumbling, blushing and trying to backtrack (embarrassing, right?). Instead, just focus on where your strengths actually are, without too much embellishing.
3. Giving textbook answers.
Startups are the product of innovative and creative ideas, so the people running them usually want to hire innovative and creative people. You want to stand out, right? The words ‘I’m a team player’ are the same that came out of the average Joe’s mouth who went before you. You aren’t a textbook so stop sounding like one. You are a personable human being with thoughts and ideas of your own, so articulate that.
4. Neglecting to ask questions.
Remember that a job interview is a two-way process. As much as they want to get to know you and your experience, this is also your opportunity to find out if the company is right for you. Asking appropriate questions shows that you are interested and seriously considering the role rather than wasting their time.
5. Letting your nerves take over.
Deep breaths. Remind yourself they saw something in your application (and therefore in you) that they liked. Don’t let yourself get so nervous that you forget everything you prepared. Go in there with confidence and show them why you are the perfect candidate.
Brighterbox connects graduates with exciting startups in London. Check out the jobs page for vacancies up for grabs.