Startup Checklist: What You Need to Know Before Joining a Startup

Article first appeared at HR in Asia

As a fresh graduate looking to enter the world of work, you are faced with a classic job-search duel between corporate and startup. You might have heard the basic characteristics of each organization type. If a well-established company is like a fully furnished house, then a newly-born startup company is a currently built house with little to no room layout and furniture. While it might be true that corporations are relatively more stable, they often have less flexibility to foster your creativity. Meanwhile, startups typically offer more room for innovation, but they cannot guarantee job security.

When it comes to choosing between corporate and startup, neither is better or worse than the other. Just as working for a well-established company is not for everybody, a career in a startup might not be everyone’s cup of tea. But, if you want to gain experience and hone your skills after graduation, opting to work in a startup could be a great stepping stone for your career journey. 

Here are some things you need to know before joining a startup:

Surviving in chaos while striving for structure

For those who have working experience in a more strict, structured and stratified environment, the freedom and turmoil of a startup might seem intriguing and liberating at once. Although this part is somewhat true, there is a cost and factor to consider. 

Startup is all about continuously striving to grow from scratch, yet it is also about discovering almost everything on your own. Being a startup employee requires you to go beyond taking orders; you need to figure out how to carry out tasks with less to no questions asked. Day-to-day work atmosphere is prone to be chaotic and you are expected to function properly. 

Unlike established organizations that have SOPs and mitigation plans in place, startups are still struggling with procedures and might not provide key answers for problems that occurred. If you are ready to work at a startup, get ready also to be twice as creative and as resilient as you think you can be.

 

Read Also: What is the Perspective of Startup Hire? 

 

Figures matter: CEO and Investors

One major difference between established companies and startups is that the CEO plays a huge role in startups. Your future CEO might not necessarily be “born successful”, but they can be trustworthy as long as they show commitment to create solid achievements towards the company’s success. 

A CEO must demonstrate good leadership skills in establishing and managing teams. During a job interview with a startup, you can ask about the founder’s or CEO’s previous accomplishments to determine their leadership quality. Some startups might successfully get fundings for their project, but the leaders have no idea how to achieve goals; this is a red flag

Settle for growth and ask these questions to yourself: Do you have faith in the CEO or founder’s capability to represent the company to stakeholders? If you do, how sure are you?

Besides the CEO, investors serve a crucial important role and should be a subject you need to consider. Knowing who the investors are and their track record is essential when evaluating the company’s sustainability. A brand might be proven to be great, but if the CEO and product are not aligned with investor expectations, the business might face major problems in the future due to mismatched expectations. Be careful if the startup you are applying to is being shady about who their investors are and what their expectations are.

Flexible, but sometimes too flexible

Flexible working hours policy might look great on the surface. As fun as it seems to work at any time of the day without being constrained to the conventional 9 to 5 routine, flexible working hours can turn out to be more stressful than blissful. 

Due to the global pandemic, many startups are going remote and offering more flexible hours for employees. Sounds like freedom? Well, even if it does, it is not a secret that freedom can go out of hand once you put off duties. If you cannot handle your own temptation to slack off, lack of supervision would be a bane instead of a boon. 

Therefore, ensure that you have super great self-control before deciding to join a startup. If you are unsure about it, but you proceed to join anyway, expect to find yourself juggling between pending duties and upcoming duties at the same time later on.

The proliferation of startups today has opened up more job opportunities than ever. More than just a trend; startups have become prominent competitors against established companies. If you’re looking to be part of a game-changer at a startup, consider carefully about the benefits and freedom they offer; as well as the responsibilities that come along with the jobs.

 

Read Also: Why Should You Join Startup Communities?