Everyone’s answers so far are really great, and I only have a minor personal perspective to add here.
Depending on the stage of the startup and the position you are vying for, you may not have access to a lot of the information that these other guys are suggesting. I’m going to break my answer down a few ways then:
If the startup is pre-seed:
You are likely considering a Founder or first/early Employee role.
The startup may or may not make it, and it will likely have less than 1-2 months of cash in the bank at any time (if that!), as it bootstraps or raises more money while building MVP.
When evaluating the position, the questions you need to ask yourself are:
- Do I believe in this idea passionately enough to be a company leader for years to come?
- Can I add something of value to the team already in place?
- Can I support myself for however long until we are sustainable?
- Will I be able to just walk away if it doesn’t work out?
If the startup is post seed, but less than 50 employees still, they have formed their culture, but more importantly, they still may be in the phase where every new hire is “important to the future of the company.” You are most likely to get transparent answers here.
- What is the company vision?
- What is the culture like?
- What are prospects for advancement? (key question: a company that doesn’t think about the future doesn’t think about how to reward and retain employees.)
- What is the current runway? (Realistically this will only be answered for an executive hire.)
- What are plans for Exit (if any?)
Growth hire: company is huge now, salary is worth way more than any equity ever would be. Ask:
- Are there continuing education options?
- What is the bonus structure?
- What is the health plan like?
- Are family members welcome to visit?
For this one, check GlassDoor for a picture of the culture, remembering that people will only post there in their absolute worst moods and juxtapose that with a tour of the office/campus.
Research every article you can find about the company’s funding and valuation. In an interview however, Asking questions about the valuation (unless you are an executive) will turn off the interviewer, so do this research separately or wait until you are negotiating.
If at any point you don’t like the answer to one of those questions, that’s a big red flag telling you to walk away.
Originally Posted: https://www.quora.com/What-are-some-red-flags-that-signal-you-should-walk-away-from-a-start-up-job
Originally Posted On: 2015-05-25