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Jensen Harris @jensenharris
, 20 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
Interviewing at a startup can be totally perplexing. Some startups pride themselves in having "no processes", leading to a confusing, inscrutable experience. Don't lose hope! 😕

Here are 4 warning signs that you may want to steer clear of the startup at which you're interiewing:
1) Repeated misfires on communication. This can be anything from the recruiter calling you Cindy when your name is Stacy (a mistake we made with a candidate early in our company) or making an appointment for a chat on the phone and then you never get the call.
People do make mistakes from time to time, but if you've started the process with an initial conversation (doing an informational with a recruiter or member of the team) and then don't hear anything for a long time, it probably means they are not into you. It's ok... move on!
In 2013, I interviewed for a senior job with a startup and did two full days of interviews, flew to a different state for even more interviews, and then literally never heard anything from them again.

I'm still waiting to hear if I got the job! 🤞🏼
These kind of mistakes in the hiring process often portend issues you'll have once inside the company. Rarely is a company completely inept in their hiring process (arguably their most important function) but GREAT at the other processes you need to have an awesome place to work.
2) The Cattle Call. You walk into the front door, excited to interview, only to see that you are in an American Idol competition with 15 other people also holding resumes waiting for their 9am interviews.

Good news: over the next 3 hours you will compete to be employed. ⚔️
This bulk hiring process, while efficient for a startup, is dehumanizing. By greatly reducing the time you have to actually interview, it encourages the employer to make biased snap judgments about people.

Do you want to work at a place where every interaction is a competition?
Worse, you get shafted out of the most important part of the interview day: you learning about the startup. Unlike big companies, startups won't have hundreds of Glassdoor reviews/ratings; your interviews are the most important way you have to find out what working there is like.
If you find out that you have been tricked into a Cattle Call, just turn around and walk out. Or politely say "I'm sorry, I thought I would be doing a personal interview for this position. I'm going to opt out."

You are worth getting to have a real interview experience.
3) The Slow Roll. Great news! You completed your interview. Whew... now the excitement starts, as you nervously wait to hear the results.

And you wait, and you wait, and you wait. And then you hear that the "committee hasn't been able to meet." And then "someone is out of town.”
And then it's time to start reference or background checks. You eagerly provide references, but now those are taking weeks too. What is happening here?

This is known as the "slow roll." Big companies do this too, but often it's literally because they are bureaucratic nightmares.
The "slow roll" almost always means the company has someone else behind you in the hiring pipeline and they are waiting to compare them with you.

They are dragging their feet artificially on your decision process to give the other person time to complete their interview.
Here's a hint: if a startup truly can't get people together for weeks to make a hiring decision, this is a very dysfunctional situation (and you don't want to work there!)

Ask when you start your interview how long the notification process will take and then hold them to that.
Give benefit of the doubt, of course; sometimes people legitimately get sick or there's an honest mistake. But the reality is, if the company were excited about you, you would most likely hear from them quickly.

Silence is generally not good when you are waiting for hiring news.
4) The Hard Sell. Ok, you've got the offer in hand. And now the manager, executive, or founder is on the phone trying to convince you to take flight with them. YES! 🎉

This can be so exhilarating, so exciting, truly there's no better feeling. You are on top of the world...
...and then they say you have 24 hours to sign or the offer explodes. Time to run away.

Making a decision to join a startup is life-altering. You deserve the time to think it over. 24 hours or "you need to sign tonight" or any of these high-pressure tactics are a horrible sign.
Any company that is so short-sighted that they need to pressure you into working there by preying on your fear of the job going away isn't a place you want to work.

Here's a hint: you are actually the commodity, the talent. You are just as valuable in a week as in a day.
If you are totally in on a company, by all means sign right away! No harm in that.

But if you are not sure, want time to think, and end up in this high pressure environment... imagine how that extrapolates into what working there is like. Is that good leadership?
Rule of thumb: a company should give you at least a week to think about the offer. If they don't, ask them for more time. If they don't give it, move on if you can.

(All of this is also true of VC's giving fast-exploding term sheets, though that is another set of tweets!)
In the end, remember that you and the startup together are looking for a mutual match. It should not feel like there's a weird power imbalance... if it does, it might not be the right place.

Respect, attention to detail, and transparency... this is the foundation.
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