According to Start-up Britain, government statistics show that in the UK micro and small businesses represent 95% of all companies and employ more than seven million people.
For employees, start-up companies can offer very exciting and rewarding opportunities, but there can be risks involved, too. When interviewing at a start-up, here are a few questions you should ask to make sure you are clear on the security of the position as well as the opportunities for professional development the position might offer:
- How is this start-up being funded?
The answer to this question should give you an idea of how much money there is and how long will it last. Be aware, however, that there may be limits on how many specifics the start-up can actually share.
- What are your immediate plans vs. your long term goals?
You want the start-up to have clear ideas of where they are headed and when they plan on getting there. You also want to know what they are ultimately hoping to achieve.
- How did the idea for this product (or service) come about?
This will give you insight into the origin of the product or company. It can also provide important information about the company culture and how work gets done there.
- Who do YOU consider to be your biggest competitors?
This should give you a good idea of how unique they are in the marketplace but also reassure you that they have done the relevant research.
We suggest that you wait until the end of the interview to ask these questions, as the team may well cover some, or all, of them.
As mentioned, some of these questions (particularly with regard to funding) can be awkward to discuss. Still, anyone running a start-up should be open about the risks involved and will most likely appreciate that you are thinking about these critical issues.
Do you already work at a start-up?
We’d love to hear your experiences of working there. Was there anything you wish you’d asked in your interview that we haven’t mentioned? Let us know in the comments section!