Nitro Blog

How-To Ace a Start-Up Interview


Marble white flooring and cinched-tight ties aren’t the typical start-up M.O; it’s more like exposed brick and quirky seating fixtures. And just as the décor differs from stereotypical corporate gigs to the tech world, so do the hiring practices.

For the savvy job-seeker, that means adapting your interview style for the job at hand. How? So glad you asked…

Put your suit back on the hanger.

Unfortunately, there’s no formula to dressing for a start-up interview, but the key variable is ultimately fitting in. You want to look like you’re already one of the team. Arriving in a 3-piece suit at a plaid-shirt and skinny jeans appropriate office will make you stand out – in not the best way.

Pro Tip: Check out photos of the company office at places like The Muse and read reviews of interviews on Glassdoor to get a feel for what current employees wear.

Do Your Homework.

Coming prepared to your interview means knowing not only the history of a company, but the history of its people. Find out what (or who) you can relate to. Utilize social media or a free people search to find common ground (hey, the guy interviewing you used to work at the same company as your neighbor’s cousin? Cool, share that!).

Pro Tip: At Nitro, we love when someone comes in and can reference our latest blog post, or recall a LinkedIn status they recently clicked on.

Raise Your Hand.

Curiosity is a diamond in the rough when it comes to candidates – which is too bad, because Talent Team members love people who ask questions! Inquiring about the organization and its people shows you’re invested in learning about the company, which makes the company want to invest in you.

Pro Tip: Check out the LinkedIn profiles of people you’ll be talking to; ask them about their careers, hobbies, or even their Alma mater.

Above All Else, Be You

Sharing your skill set is absolutely important, but so is showing off who you are. Start-ups care about you as a human being, and will treat you as such. Intimidating you isn’t on the agenda – we just want to actively know who you are and what makes you tick.

Pro Tip: If they offer you a beer, it’s not a test. It’s more an invitation to kick-back, hang out, and really get to know one another.

Whether you are interviewing with a fresh start-up, a mid-size company, or a giant corporation, you’re going to be evaluated. Don’t change who you are to sell yourself to a company; look for the right place where you can just be you. And if you’re excited about a company, that enthusiasm will translate, leaving a lasting impression and making it difficult to pass you up.

Think you stand out? Check out Nitro’s open positions and apply online, now!

Jennifer Trendler is Nitro’s Head of Talent. Based out of Nitro HQ in San Francisco, she scouts the best talent from all around the world. When not doing back to back Skype interviews with candidates in 4 different time zones, Jennifer is dedicated to spreading the word about the amazing opportunities at Nitro, and about the company culture that keeps getting better with each new Nitronaut.