Landing a job at a startup can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Not only does it give you the chance to be part of something really big, but it also offers unparalleled learning opportunities. And because startups don’t have the luxury of employing large numbers of staff for specialised tasks, there’s a chance to get you hands dirty and learn new skills on the job.
However, to join a startup is to take a risk, and one must be well informed before jumping into it. But how do you know if the move is worth the risk?
Here are a few questions we recommend asking before accepting that offer right away:1. What does the success of the company look like?If you’re joining a startup that’s still in its infancy, with no active clients on board, the risk rate is fairly higher. On the other hand, your potential employer could be a startup that has been in existence for some time and has a growing list of customers. If this is the case, the probability of the company not succeeding is significantly lower, and your decision on whether or not to join might be much easier.As a potential employee, you should also have an insight on the overall financial health of the company - because the longer the company runway when you join, the greater your job security.2. What’s the total compensation? Are you entitled to stock options?Salaries in a startup will often not match the pay that a large MNCs can offer. If your only reason for taking up this job is to earn a great deal of money right away, then working at a startup may not be the best choice.
On the other hand, startups also offer various perks and compensation such as stock options to attract talent. Stock options can be complex to understand and demands deep understanding and good negotiation right at the beginning. What percentage of the company’s stock options total up to your share and what happens to these stocks if the company is acquired - are some key questions you should be asking during your final negotiations.3. What’s the founder’s profile?You’ve definitely heard this before. In an interview, get the interviewees talking about themselves. It’s also essential to do a background check on the founders. You must be able to gauge if the leadership team has the ability to take the company to great heights. Learn about their academic background, skills and experience—success and failures in the past.
4. Does the firm have a healthy investor backing?We cannot stress this enough, especially, in an environment where funding has become the lifeblood for startups. A startup backed by a strong, reliable set of investors is much more likely to succeed than one without it. And if a startup has does have a reputable VCs funding it, it is likely to have sound growth prospects as VC’s and investors do a lot of research before putting in their money.