Startups typically operate in an “all hands on deck” kind of environment where an employee might hold a few different roles at the same time. Having multiple responsibilities is not a piece of cake, especially when you’re rushed in a tight deadline. Knowing all these consequences, accepting a startup job offer would require thorough consideration. On the other hand, however, joining a startup can be fun too as it can offer a great learning journey for you. Working with a startup team can also act as a stepping stone towards you being an entrepreneur.
If you are ready to join the startup community and are looking for a job in one, first you need to take some time and ask yourself whether the startup environment is your true call. Considering these questions will help you go one step closer to make the right choice. If you still hesitate in answering all these questions, then maybe you are not ready to take the risk of joining a startup team.
See also: How to Maximise Your Startup ROI
Without further ado, here are the questions:
1. At what stage is the startup that you are being offered a position?
If the startup is still in an early stage, it will involve more risk, including more responsibility, more challenges, and a higher risk of failure. Before saying yes, calculate your own ability to cope with these points and find out how the startup is funded to determine the level of risk you could be undertaking.
2. Will the role being offered give you a much greater learning insight than your current job?
In a startup environment, you might be taking up a few different roles at the same time or your role might vary as the company progresses. How much more you can learn would depend on how much you already know about the role(s) you will be handling.
3. Do you have the right personality to work at a startup?
Meet and talk to different members of the startup you are intending to join. You could be working long hours (does not necessarily apply to all startups) and the entire company could just be lesser than 5 people in a small co-working space. It would be good to know if your personality can work well with them. You would not want to be caught working in an environment where it is comparable to be like working in a graveyard, would you?
At the same time, you could also find out more about your future team members and learn about what other knowledge they can impart to you.
Next, ‘It’s all about adaptability.’ Do you possess traits like a chameleon? Startups are constantly in the motion of changes with always new ideas to discuss and new projects to work on. Are you ready to always be on-the-go?
4. What type of worker are you?
‘Clear directions will always be given.’ If you are thinking so, then you are wrong.
In a startup, there would not always be clear directions given to you unless perhaps if you ask for advice from a fellow colleague or a superior. Are you self-motivated and task-oriented enough to know what to do and figure out how to be useful? Remember! No one is going to tell you what/how/when to do it. You have to be constantly ahead and able to be intuitive enough to act as and when needed.
5. What will your role be?
Do you have an identified role or will there be a chance of additional roles being given to you along the way as the company grows? What kind of responsibilities do they prepare to give you and how prepared are you to take them? You must be clear on the roles and responsibilities that you will and might have to handle in order to assess if you could deal with the workload in time to come.
6. Do the founders talk the talk and yet do not walk the walk?
Startup founders need to talk the talk and walk the walk. If you are hired for a certain role, then founders should be the one who puts the same, if not more, amount of effort than you as he will be responsible for the team and other projects before the startup scales up. You would want to be assured that when a situation arises in a startup, the founders will be there holding the grounds together with you.
7. Why are you doing this?
There are various reasons why a person will join a startup. It could be because they do not like their job, could not find a job, equity ownership, or learning curve of being an entrepreneur etc. What is yours? Is it passion? Do you have a great interest and belief in what a startup is doing?
Do note that startups might take some time before you will see any fruits bearing on the tree, thus you will need to evaluate your vision of your own future prior to making a commitment to working in a startup.
8. What are the risks?
Joining a startup can be risky at times. Your time and effort will be significantly chained to the startup and yet they might fail quickly too. Therefore, you would want to consider if the startup should wind up, would you still be able to stand on your feet? Will you still be able to serve your commitments if there be any? Will you be able to see it as a learning journey and not allow the setback to prevent you from embracing your future, should the startup fail?
With good research on a startup you are thinking if you should join, you will be able to determine the level of risk you might encounter and at the end, it will be how you feel about managing the aftereffects should it not work out.
Read also: Startup Charm: Why Talents Leave Corporate Comfort to Work at Startups