How to ace your final interviews for Startmate

Startmate Melbourne 2020 cohort final interviews are tomorrow. Here’s some advice on nailing the interview I offered one of the finalists that might help anyone selected for an accelerator’s final interview stage.

Startmate 2016 final interview day hosted by Atlassian
Startmate 2016 final interview day hosted by Atlassian
Startmate 2016 final interview day, hosted at Atlassian.

When the interviewer asks, “So what do you do?”

Be ready to describe what your startup does, initially in terms of the customer and the problem you solve, and only after that, describe how you solve it.

Remember that some of your interviewers are really good at joining the dots and won’t need you to spell out every detail — look for signs of impatience when they want to interrupt you to ask you to skip ahead, and take a breath to allow them to ask that. This is particularly true due to the lag in video calls in remote interviews.

As always, avoid jargon and superlatives.

When it seems like the interviewer is negative

When you encounter scepticism, if you can refute their argument concisely and conclusively, refute it.

But if ultimately it will be a question of one person’s opinion vs another, realise that asap, be gracious in taking their opinion on board, and move on to the next part of your story.

This is not a game of tennis, it’s speed dating

Startmate interviews aren’t about a winner and a loser, they’re an opportunity to form an initial impression with a bunch of really connected and smart industry people who might be prepared to help you down the track whether or not you’re offered a place in the program.

Thanks for trying hard

It’s awesome that you even read this. It’s a good sign. And to some degree, I know I’m teaching you to suck eggs — you are sure to know some of this already. Good luck!

I’m Alan Jones, an EiR for startup accelerators, GP at M8 Ventures. Previously investor, founder, and early Yahoo PM. Opinions mine (but should also be yours).

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