Before you interview with a startup you need to do a bunch of preparation to make sure you’ll knock the ball out of the park. I wrote this 12 point checklist for startup interview prep a while back that should help you do exactly that.
There’s one part of that 12 point checklist that’s the most important – your 30 day plan.
Startups succeed when the team has the mandate and the makeup to ask for forgiveness rather than ask for permission. The 30 day plan (including target goals) shows that you are that kind of person. It makes it easy for the startup hiring manager to think: “Sounds like she knows her stuff and wouldn’t require a lot of hand holding.” Without a plan in hand, you risk that same hiring manager thinking “She will need a lot of guidance, and I don’t have the time to provide it.” Remember, startups are generally awful at interviewing candidates. This means you need to go deeper than you would at a ‘regular’ interview.
A 30 day plan should be fine for most entry level / early career roles. If you’re interviewing for mid level or senior roles then you should expand the plan to include 90 day activities and milestones.
Remember that the point of the plan is not to get it “right” but to show the hiring company that you’ve thought a lot about their business. Plus, it helps set the goal posts for your role early on even if you don’t end up getting agreement on your whole plan.
Here’s an example of a plan I put together when interviewing for a startup job (I was interviewing to be the first business hire). I hope it helps you put together your own!