5 things you need to consider before accepting a job offer at a startup

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startup jobs
6 min read

There are people who dream of getting into an established company with fixed roles and salaries. Then there are those who want jobs in those up and coming startups that offer exciting roles, informal structures, flexibility, and a lot of room to pick up new skills. 

Chances are, you’ve debated whether joining an established company or an emerging one is the right choice for you.

If you’re still on the fence about joining a startup, there are some questions you can ask yourself as well as your interviewer before you make the final decision.

Start thinking about your requirements and expectations from your job at a startup before you read on. 

There are a few questions you need to ask yourself before you decide if a startup job would be a good choice for you. 

  • Is this startup in a field that you want to work in, even in the future? 
  • Will this startup expose you to what you are passionate and excited about? 
  • Does this startup have a role that you want to have in the future? 
  • Can you build a structured environment for yourself from the chaos in a startup? 
  • Are you willing to work for a lower pay and focus on learning and gaining experience? 
  • Can you take up more responsibilities than your position requires? 
  • Are you prepared to work odd hours?
  • Do you see yourself growing in this position? 

If you’ve answered yes to all these questions, working at a startup might be a good option for you.

But you also need to decide which startup is the right place for you.

Before you commit your time and effort to your new job at a startup, consider asking these questions at your interview and prioritise what’s important to you. 

1. What stage is the startup in?

Most startups go through three stages when in comes to revenue generation:

  • No-revenue: At this stage, the startup isn’t earning any revenue and is running on a limited investment
  • Break-even: At this stage, the startup is earning revenue, but just enough to meet expenses and stay afloat
  • Profitability: At this stage, the startup is earning profits and is expected to grow in the future. 

Know that any startup has set visions and goals for itself.

It’s important to know how a company plans to grow and what measures the startup is actively pursuing to meet those goals. 

Ask these questions:

  • What is the company’s mission and vision? 
  • How does the company plan to expand and grow? 
  • What are the opportunities and challenges the company faces?

2. What does the leadership look like?

The leadership team decides how big the startup is and how everyday functions go through. Make sure they are vision-oriented and work towards that goal. You do not want to be on a sinking ship. Conduct thorough research on the founders and investors.

startup jobs

Understand their personal visions and their visions for the company.

And while you’re at it, get to know their strengths and the challenges they’ve faced. You need to know how they’re going to save the company from sinking when a crisis arises. 

Ask these questions: 

  • Whom will you be reporting to? 
  • How often will your performance be reviewed? 
  • Is there a hierarchy in the communication process? 

3. What are the opportunities for growth? 

You might want to get promoted to a better position or even expand your role at your startup job. But before you do that, you need to know the scope for your growth within the company.

(Continue Reading Below…)

If you don’t want to end up doing the same thing everyday for years to come, you need to ensure that the startup you join provides job flexibility and diversity in responsibilities. 

Ask these questions:

  • What is your role in the company? 
  • Is there room to upskill and grow while at your current role? 
  • What responsibilities will you be given in your position? 
  • Will you be given independent decision-making powers in your role? 
  • Is there a scope for networking both within and outside the company? 

4. Where does the money come from?

You’ve probably heard this before and you’ll probably hear it again — startups pay way lower than established companies. This might not always be the case, but it’s good to consider how much you will be paid at your job in this startup. You should probably get yourself acquainted with how the company earns — after all, you’ve got bills to pay, and that money needs to come from somewhere. 

Your salary structure will depend on your field and your position as well as the stage at which the startup is.

startup jobs

A startup in its initial stages might not be in a position to pay you more. 

Ask these questions: 

  • What is the range for your salary in this position? 
  • On what basis is the salary for your position determined?
  • Are there opportunities to increase your chances of earning more?
  • Will increased responsibilities reflect in your salary?
  • How are your raises calculated and awarded? 

5. What is the work culture of the startup?

Unlike those who came before us, women now are more particular about the workplace culture of the place they work at. So, you’ll expect a job at a startup that caters to your interests and aspirations. 

Whether it be company policies that reflect your interests, supportive managers, respect for everyone regardless of positions, a value for teamwork and collaboration or inclusiveness and diversity initiatives, proper recognition for your work, and a zero tolerance policy for toxicity, you can have it all at your new startup job if you look for the right company without limiting your needs.  

Ask these questions:

  • What are the core values of the company? 
  • How inclusive and diverse are the company policies?
  • How formal or informal is the communication style? 
  • What opportunities are there for you to socialise with others in the company? 
  • Where can you raise your issues and how will they be addressed? 
  • Is work from home an option? 
  • What is the vacation policy? 
  • How do teams collaborate? 

You’ve got a lot to think about. Make sure you make the right decision. Most women who join startup jobs are driven to dream big and look towards creating something unique. If that’s you, and you’ve answered yes to most of the questions above, you’re halfway there already; you’ll fit right in! 

You’re invited! Join the Kool Kanya women-only career Community where you can network, ask questions, share your opinions, collaborate on projects, and discover new opportunities. Join now.

A content writer, Nruthya's love for words knows no boundaries. An avid reader, she is known to devour books while deconstructing and analysing them with her English degree. If reading entire novels in one sitting was a superpower, then she might be a superhero in disguise. Having recently found a new love for experimenting in the kitchen, she is always keen to learn something new. However, on most days, you might find her curled up and imagining insane scenarios. If not, then she's probably binging stand-up comedy and commentary videos on YouTube. A tiny introvert who always gets mistaken for an eighth-grader, Nruthya tries to be open to new perspectives and opinions, so she's the one to approach if you want to have philosophical debates.

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