Differences between working at start up vs mature company

I am really excited about an upcoming interview. It's at a start up that just raised Series A. They went from ~10-200 employees in 2020! All of my experiences in marketing have been at larger/established companies.Questions:What do you think are the biggest differences in working at a start up vs a larger company?What should I look for/be wary of during the interview process?How can I overcome their concerns (if they ask) about my lack of experience at a start up?Any other advice as I prepare for the interview?Thank you!
Congrats on the interview!! Wishing you all the best. I've worked in multiple start up environments and the most common things I've seen can be described as "building the plane while you're flying." And in terms of you not necessarily working at a start up before doesn't mean you don't have the right skill sets. You might want to think about the times where priorities have shifted quickly, how you handled working on multiple things at once, how you handled multiple deadlines, wearing multiple hats and how you were able to proactively see gaps in a process and improve it for the business. That's one of my favorite things about start ups because you have opportunities to get pulled in so many areas of the business. Please let us know how it goes!
Awesome, thank you so much! I have done all of these things. I will spend some time working on my story examples.
Keep us posted!
Hello Rebecca,Congrats on the interview!1) Definitely formality: when you are in an early-stage startup, there is still a certain level of "informality", less processes in place, perhaps things are still manually without much (obviously the levels vary but across the board) - so when a company goes through a hiring spree there is definitely a shift in the culture, processes, little bit of red tape can get in the way too. 2) Are they ready for the things they would want you to do. You may expect a certain level of structure and readiness of the product but when you dig deeper there's actually more discovery that needs to take place. Happens a lot especially for sales role but since you're going for a senior role (I assume given that you have a strong marketing background) you should definitely do your due diligence on how much of a scaleup the company actually is.3) This is actually where you have A MASSIVE competitive edge, assuming they tick the boxes and you're sold on them. You can talk about how your experience at larger places has thought you order, to be system-oriented and you are excited to help them build a scalable repeatable model that would enable them to grow 2x (or whatever the metric they use is).
Hi there! These are my suggestions:- The startup thrives or crashes from the top. Who is the founder? Do they have substantial subject matter expertise in the company they founded? If not, did they hire leaders who do? Most importantly, do those leaders have a strong voice in the growth of the company?- Do they prioritize culture in their growth? Whether they have a notable plan will tell you a lot. I'm not saying this is a deal-breaker, but you should do some digging to understand their values and how they apply them whether informally or with a budgeted plan. Too many startups quickly become bro-farms that expect you to work all hours of the day (usually if this is the founder). Sorry to say it's still true today.- How are they growing the team and how will they measure the success of your role? This is especially important in marketing because if you are the only one on the team with your particular skill set you can find yourself with very little support to fulfill lofty goals. In terms of concerns, I think it's usually whether the person will understand and enjoy the variability of the job. It's all hands on deck, sometimes with very little guidance, but also a lot of fun if you enjoy analytical work as well as executing directly on projects. When I interview, I like specific examples of - "this was the vision set by the executive team, these were the challenges we had to overcome to acomplish that vision, activites and outcomes".Avoid anyone who seems like they would be a shouter.
Congrats on the upcoming interview! Everyone has posted such great tips so I thought I would try to share from a hiring manager perspective who made an offer to someone without start up experience. She was able to demonstrate self awareness in how to leverage her prior experience in the big company setting and apply the processes and context to our team and business overall. Additionally, she drew on specific project examples that had levels of ambiguity and multiple cross functional interactions to highlight the versatility of her soft skills for a start up experience.I would also advise having a strong story on why a start up now, and how this role and this start up is going to fit in your overall career arc story. Having an authentic reason for this can help the interview panel connect with you on why they might have decided to go to a start up!
This is very helpful. Thank you.
If you choose to work at the startup, you should feel driven by the team and mission over everything else. It will likely be more demanding and have more responsibility (and probably less pay) than a more established company, but if you feel driven by their mission and feel that you're working with amazing people, take the leap. In the interview process, ask about culture- are they transparent and value communication? Who will you be working closely with? Dealing with lack of experience at another startup is totally fine as long as you can convey passion and excitement to work at the company regardless of your past experiences.