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I'm a fresh graduate and I have an interview coming up with a startup company. I was wondering how different will the hiring process be when compared to big companies, given limited resources they have. Do startups have standard recruiting process? If not, what factors should I consider for an interview, salary consideration etc?

P.S.: The startup has around 15 employees, and is ventured backed!

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how different will the hiring process be when compared to big companies, given limited resources they have.

Yes, startups are different when compared to big companies. And significantly, they are quite different from each other.

I've worked for a bunch of startups.

Some were very much like larger companies, and the interview processes were virtually identical to those of larger companies. Paid recruiters, phone interview, several face-to-face interviews, offer letter plus benefit packet - all the same.

Others, were very different.

I've been hired by a startup company founder over lunch without ever meeting anyone else in the company.

I've also been hired at a startup where I met everyone who was already part of the company face-to-face - all at the same time - including one of the key venture investors.

There nothing "standard" about the recruiting process across the vast array of startups, as far as I can tell.

  • "There nothing 'standard' about the recruiting process across the vast array of startups". This. I'd go as far to say that most startups (of the 15 person or less variety) do not have a defined "recruitment process". Certainly not in the sense that most larger organizations do. – aroth Apr 17 '14 at 1:00
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Everything varies, of course, and nobody can tell you exactly what the interview process will be like at this startup except people who have interviewed there, but some general considerations for smaller startup companies are:

  • The interview process won't be as drawn out as it can be at larger firms. Don't expect half a dozen different interviews with different managers, leads, etc. There just aren't that many people there!
  • ..but do expect the possibility that the owner/founder might want to have at least a brief conversation with you as part of the interviewing process. Obviously that's never going to happen at a big firm! This is because..
  • ..in general, small startups care a lot more about "cultural fit" than bigger firms. When the company is small, it's a lot more important that everyone gels and works well together and enjoys each others' company.
  • As a fresh graduate, any interview anywhere is going to be more about demonstrating that you are smart, keen and enthusiastic than a detailed examination of your experience, because you don't have any yet! But even if you weren't a fresh grad, I feel that small startups definitely tend to weigh smarts and enthusiasm, rather than specific experience, higher than big firms do.

The main tip I can give you is that it really pays to display enthusiasm for the product or service that the startup is producing. Familiarize yourself with their product, have a really good think about their business before your interview and have questions ready about it.

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In my experience i have generally found the hiring process is a lot longer, more complex and drawn out in larger firms but there is no set rules each company varies. I once interviewed for a large corporate financial firm and it got all the way to the job offer stage without the need for a technical test (Rare these days). But on the flip side i have also interviewed at small companies that expect the same level of candidate screening even though their company isn't as desirable, it really is luck of the draw.

Some larger companies with well known names will obviously be far more picky what staff they take on then a small start-up firm and will eliminate candidates with technical tests or homework projects. I can't speak for all industries but with programming it tends to be at least 2 interviews and a technical test as a minimum.

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