If you’re good enough to get the job you’ll already have the expected preparation done, naturally. This not-so-expected prep, deployed deftly and gracefully during your interview, will give you an advantage over the competition.
***disclaimer*** It’s going to feel more-than-a-little-bit like stalking. If you find yourself rooting through bins, you’ve gone too far. Way too far.
The research should take you 1-2 hours: write notes. The aim is not to show off how much research you’ve done, it’s to give you ways to connect in the 7 minutes the founder is listening (the other 53 minutes he or she will be transfixed by the typo in your CV, or running over the Series B strategy) Keep it natural – bring up things you have in common in your answers, where appropriate.
- What have they last posted on Quora? Their answers will tell you a lot about them.
- How do they comes across on their Facebook / Instagram profile? (Don’t friend them yet, duh.)
- Look through their past 12 months of Tweets (any political, causes, bugbears, humour?)
- Have you read their Linkedin profile and learnt it backwards? (What university were they at? Sidenote: if they don’t have 200+ contacts, that’s a red flag.)
- Which shared contacts / mutual friends do you have on Linkedin or Facebook?
- Are they on Airbnb, Strava or Couchsurfer* (*Credit: Willem Wijnans at Improbable.io)? Couchsurfer gives you an indication they are community minded
[Use an x-ray boolean search string e.g site:strava.com “founder name”]
- Download www.crystalknows.com (Chrome extension) and discover what type of character you are meeting
- Have they been to Burning Man? (Clue: Facebook photos or Instagram) Not a bad topic to get onto, but only bring it up if you have actually been.
- What sport and activities are they into?
- Understand the metrics / KPI’s and drivers of the business – if you can’t clearly define these, find out beforehand by asking someone closer to the business.
And a few bonus ones….
- Be able to elevator pitch the company and the products
- Check if the founder has done any interviews on Youtube or podcasts. Emulate the language and phrases they use e.g “We see ourselves as…” – that’s how the founders want you to communicate the company and if you get the job after 2 months you will be communicating in these phrases
- Find someone who has done the interview process and ask them what their experience is – post in a few startup forums – if the founder sees he or she will be impressed you are preparing