Attitude > Aptitude > Experience
“Is there anything you’re not willing to do?” asks the interviewer.
“I spend my summers working on a horse farm shoveling manure. I’m willing to do anything,” responds the applicant.
This was an actual conversation between a startup founder and a job candidate (relayed to me by the founder). Guess what? He was hired right then and there. Why? Because he didn’t fumble over his words, or say something like “Well, yeah, so I’m actually kind of particular to doing financial modeling. I’m not much into social media and general operations.” This was a real response from an applicant for the same job. Needless to say, he did not get it. See the difference?
This may be the most underrated, or least anticipated question during an interview at a startup: “Is there anything you’re not willing to do?”
Startups constantly have shifting priorities and must be pivot ready to survive and thrive. The same goes for its employees. The ‘get it done’ mentality = the winning one.
You may be wondering, “What if I don’t know how to complete the task at hand?” Most people don’t, but they (ahem, the rockstars) figure it out. Whether you research how, ask a friend or colleague, take an online course, find an online forum for that specific function or industry, whatever it is, you learn how and give it 110%. Because that’s what startups need, first and foremost, people who have that ‘can do’ attitude. That’s your foundation. What you lack in experience, you’ll make up for with your work ethic. Once you have the right attitude, then you’ll build the aptitude or learning ability needed to gain the experience to help solve really tough problems, succeed as an employee, and directly impact the overall success of the company.
Natural curiosity, a willingness to learn and the work ethic to see it through. That is a natural problem solver, and a value add to any growing business.
Want to see what you’re made of? Consider joining a startup.