At the beginning of April, we had a great first Startup Matchmaking Meetup where we debunked some of the common myths and misconceptions about the startup life. Andreia Patroiu, Irina Scarlat and Oana Dima shared with us from their personal experiences of working in and for a startup.
The panel began by talking about how beautiful and miserable startup life can be, both for founders and employees, but if have the passion and eagerness to come to the office every morning, then you definitely know what to expect from working in a startup and you are in the right place. Our guests also shared some beliefs about the startup world that candidates had during interviews and how the opinions about the work environment changed for early employees during the first few weeks in their new positions.
Now, if you prefer to watch the whole discussion you can do it here. Alternatively, you can read the summary points below.
One of the most common questions that people ask during the interview is “Does the company have money? How you will going to pay my salary?”. Well, those that end up asking these questions haven’t done their pre-interview homework properly, which for that matter, you should be doing for any interview you plan to attend (here is a website that will get you started). But joke aside, when you see a startup that is hiring, don’t think of it as a side-hustle project that a couple of over-ambitious geeks have started in their parents' garage with the hope to hit the startup jackpot. This is a company with accelerated growth potential that has secured the funds to do just that, a.k.a have money to pay your salary.
You should also keep in mind that no matter how big or small the startup team is, you won’t get a fixed set of responsibilities. If you’re a developer, chances are you will be doing some business strategy, if you’re a marketer you will be handling customer support and if you are part of the team no matter on what position, you will definitely be doing sales in order to keep the ship afloat. That’s the beauty of it and one of the main benefits of joining a startup. You are entering an environment that helps you become a well-rounded professional in a fast time.
Don’t base your decision of joining a startup based on the benefits they offer. Don’t get me wrong, you will be paid (almost always) on time, your taxes will be covered like in any legal complaint company and you will have some extra benefits such as health insurance or gym membership. However, don’t expect to get free designer clothes to go to meetings, a super fast company car or business class travel tickets. If you’re into all that, then be quite certain that the startup life is not for you.
What (some) employees expect to find
Don’t expect stability. It is hectic out there as it’s about speed and the power to adapt. For example, during the event, Irina had to run to an unscheduled call with her CEO, but she was back to finish the panel. There will be moments when you would have to work overtime, pull some all-nighters or do some weekend work. Even though you won’t be granted free days to compensate that immediately, be sure that your commitment is appreciated and will definitely be rewarded.
Don’t expect NOT to have a personal life anymore. In order to be a great founder or a startup employee, you should be able to manage your energy. This means that you must learn how to get shit done in the most efficient way possible, always have your creative energy with you, and you must truly enjoy both your work and your personal life. Nobody likes a grumpy, lazy and always tired teammate.
The match is not ‘magical’
Even a season recruiter doesn’t know for sure if you are fit for their team or if the startup is actually for you.
However, those that are great at recruiting people into their startup will have that 6th sense for choosing somebody that has the potential to be a perfect match. Rest assure that shortly after joining the company, either you or someone in the team will notice if are a fit for the startup life.
There will be times when you will be uncomfortable with being part of the startup and that is perfectly normal. But if this turns into hate towards your the company, your teammates or your day to day activities, then you should probably reconsider your career choice.
You key takeaways
We talked a bit about what you should NOT expect from working in a startup. Maybe some will say that we’ve barely scratched the surface. In any case, if you are to take 3 key points with you, these are as follows:
And if you do decide you want to join a startup, a good place to start looking for jobs is the Startup Matchmaking Platform.