How to become a superhero before your next startup interview

Everyone wants to be a superhero. And in this post I’ll tell you exactly what you need to do to get superpowers before your next startup interview.

With these superpowers you’ll be in a great position to absolutely crush your upcoming startup interviews.

But before I give away that valuable secret, I need to make sure you understand the basics of startup interviewing. After all, if you don’t understand the basics, you might not know what to do with the superpowers I’m about to reveal to you!

So let’s start with Rule #1 of startup interviewing…

(Credit: Wikipedia)

 

Always come bearing gifts. 

Some examples:

  • If you’re a salesperson, bring a list of target buyers for the startup’s product.
  • If you’re in marketing, bring some ideas for marketing campaigns or customer acquisition tests.
  • If you’re a developer, bring a cool application that uses the startup’s API (and that you wrote).

Bringing some kind of resource to a startup interview gives the startup a taste of how you work, how you think, and what you care about. And it can add immediate value to their business.

In short, it’s a great tactic for you to use in startup interviews. But there’s a problem…

(From LinkedIn.com)

It’s a lot of work to prepare a useful resource for every single startup you interview with.

If you’re doing your startup job search right you’re interviewing (formally or informally) with a bunch of startups at the same time. And like every other startup job hunter you have limited time. So you end up cutting some corners on your interview prep to deal with the volume and to leave enough time for other important things (e.g. eating, sleeping, watching Game of Thrones).

For example:

  • Instead of coming to an interview with a list of 30 sales prospects and their email addresses, you bring a list of just 10 prospects.
  • Instead of bringing a fully fleshed out idea for a new Twitter ad campaign, you simply point out some flaws with their existing ad campaigns during your interview.
  • Instead of writing a short eBook that the startup could immediately use in their lead generation efforts, you share with an interviewer a few ideas for eBooks.

The result?

(From https://www.flickr.com/photos/pictfactory)

You’re not standing out from other highly qualified startup job candidates.

But don’t give up just yet…

Let’s imagine that time was no object and that you actually had the time to prepare a well thought out gift/resource for each startup you interview with.

And imagine that you magically learned all of the skills that you don’t currently have, too. Skills like coding, video production, and graphic design.

You’d be a startup superhero.

superman-295328_640

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With superpowers that could defy time, space, and the limits of your existing skillset, you’d be able to easily (and rapidly) create all sorts of really useful resources like:

  • A slick new WordPress theme for a startup’s blog
  • A new homepage design for a startup
  • A fun whiteboard animation describing a startup’s product that they can post to YouTube or on Vine
  • A list of 50 target companies for a startup to sell to
  • A great infographic for one of a startup’s blog posts
  • An eBook about something a startup’s customers care about
  • (+ lots of stuff that you or I haven’t even thought of yet)

Imagine being able to bring customized resources like these to your startup interviews - every interview – without worrying about time, money, or a lack of specific skills.

Now, I’ll share some great news with you…

(Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zieak)

It only costs $5 (or 3.72 euro, or 2.97 pounds, or 512.95 JPY) to become a superhero.

For less than what you’d pay for a Starbucks latte you can become a superhero before your next startup interview. And you’ll do it by using something called Fiverr.

Fiverr is a marketplace where you can access low cost creative, administrative, and technical services. Their marketplace consists of ‘gigs’ – in essence, short freelance jobs – all of which have a starting price of $5!

But instead of giving you more detail about all of the possible gigs you can get on Fiverr, I’ll share what my friend Tim at StartupHarbor.me said about the service. After reading this, I think you’ll get the point about why it is so powerful and why using Fiverr will turn you into a superhero…

I’m not a graphic designer, but I create compelling imagery. I’m not a developer, but I do my own WordPress CSS. I don’t have time to listen to audio and carefully write it out, but now I quickly transcribe it. Through Fiverr, I hire people for all these jobs at less than the price of a beer. This inexpensive service saves me time which is then re-applied towards grabbing coffees with the the right people. It lets me focus energy on improving my core competencies instead of getting sidetracked with lots of side projects.

I’m assuming by now you’ve grabbed a few $5 bills from your wallet and you’re itching to get going. So here’s exactly what you need to do next to start using those superpowers:

  1. Follow the startup interview checklist. By the time you go through the checklist you should have an idea or two about opportunities or challenges the startup you’re interviewing with is facing.
  2. Visit Fiverr at least 5 days before your interview and find a gig that can bring to life one of your ideas from #1. Make sure that the gig you’re selecting has received high ratings from other buyers. Send the seller a message on the platform if you have questions about what they’ll deliver for you or if you need slight customization.
  3. Do whatever prep you need to do before buying the Fiverr gig so the seller can do the work you need. For example, if you want to purchase a gig to get an eBook formatted for the startup, you’d need to write the eBook first.
  4. Buy the gig, sit back, relax, and bask in the knowledge that you’re going to have something really cool to share in your next startup interview.
  5. When the seller comes back with the finished product, let them know if you need any changes made. They’ll be eager to make sure you’re satisfied and will most likely accommodate your request. (After all, they want you to give them a 5 star rating!)
  6. Make any final tweaks that aren’t part of the Fiverr gig.
  7. Bring the finished product to your startup interview to share with the people you meet with.
  8. Check your email over the next few days and wait for that offer letter to come in. ;)

It’s OK to tell them where you found your superpowers.

During your interview you might get asked about how you made that cool infographic or how you came up with that new WordPress theme for the startup’s blog. Tell them you how you did it. After all, one of the most powerful things you can do in an interview is teach your interviewer something.

Even if they have heard of Fiverr they’ll likely appreciate your resourcefulness. And maybe they’ll even use what you made with the help of Fiverr internally or with their customers.

Awesome, right?

Other uses for your new found superpowers

Why stop using your superpowers after you get the job? With the army of sellers at Fiverr at your disposal you’ll be able to move faster with almost any project at your startup.

To give you some ideas, here are some gigs I’ve purchased on Fiverr to help me with my current startup:

You just completed ‘Outsourcing 101′ and you didn’t even know it!

Fiverr is a great way to learn how to outsource in a safe environment. After all, if you’re not happy with the work you receive you’re only out 5 bucks!

Once you master Fiverr, you’ll think of creative ways to chain together multiple gigs to get even cooler stuff done. And you’ll gain the confidence you need to effectively outsource larger pieces of work, perhaps with different services.

I’ve written before about how important the skill of managing outsourced labor will be in the coming years.

Best to learn this skill now and get ahead of the curve – before everyone else figures out how to get superpowers, too :)

 

 

John Gannon
I have over 15 years of experience working in the trenches at successful startups, high growth companies, and VC firms. During that time, I've managed, interviewed, and coached hundreds of people -- and I've worked in almost every business functional role, including marketing, product management, and business development.
John Gannon
John Gannon
John Gannon

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