There is this startup founded by well known people in the industry. They are making a very good product and I'll be proud to work on it, but my first motivation to apply is to be with (and to learn from) these great masters.

Should I tell them or keep it for me and focus on the product and the global company feeling?


3 Answers 3


"I've been very impressed with the work the founders have done in the past, and I'm excited to see what they're going to do next" is a good reason to work for a company.

"To be with these great masters" seems excessively sycophantic and toadying.

  • 12
    +1 nailed it.. there's a subtle but important distinction between the two
    – motosubatsu
    Dec 12, 2017 at 11:36
  • 5
    Spot on. Depending on size of the company and the role OP is applying for, he could change the latter part to "excited to work with them". The interviewer's reaction to that might also tell him more about how likely it is that the OP will actually work closely with those founders.
    – Lilienthal
    Dec 12, 2017 at 11:36
  • 28
    "sycophantic and toadying"—Thank you for these two new vocabulary words! This is truly one of the single greatest answers I have ever had the pleasure of reading! WOW... JUST WOW! (...did I do it?) Dec 12, 2017 at 14:26
  • Plenty of variations possible in wording. If you don't actually expect to work with them directly, "I think that ACME,Inc is very likely to become market leader. I'm familiar with the research that Mr. Smith and Mr Jones have done at Local University, and I would find it a challenge to work for ACME to bring this research into the market". But the core message is that you want to work for the company because of the founders knowledge and experience, not their personalities.
    – MSalters
    Dec 12, 2017 at 15:08
  • 1
    It is culture-dependent, but you won't know the culture of that particular company going in. Thus, it's better to play it safe. The first version displays that you're paying attention, that you're directly interested in the work that they're doing, and that it'll probably be pretty easy to get you to drink the kool-aid. Those are generally seen as good things by hiring managers. After you get in, and learn a bit more about the culture, you can figure out a bit better how much of your inner fanboy you can afford to let out.
    – Ben Barden
    Dec 12, 2017 at 22:14

I am sure you can say that, but don't make it too dramatic. Include the performance of the company and mention you are excited to join such a successful company founded and run by the leaders. At the end of the day, we want to work with the best people and learn from them.


There is nothing wrong in telling them that during the interview. It will do you only good. It will show that you have a reason why you have a proper reason why you have applied to the company, and not like applying to any other company. It will show that you really have done your background research about the company. This will definitely give you an upper-hand over your competitors in the interview.

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