Five questions to determine if a company is a good fit

Can a startup be the right career move? What questions should job seekers ask to find out if a job that sounds good is indeed worth a try and the right fit? Double check on runway, core values, culture, risks and salary.


Joining a startup is risky as it could be the best or the worst career move job seekers can make. For once this clearly depends on whether the startup develops into a successful company or goes broke as both ways have tremendous consequences for someone’s career.

An article in Business Insider has summarised the questions that candidates need to ask to find out if a company has potential or if it is one of the 90 per cent that are known to fail.

1. What does the runway of the company look like?

If you are considering working for a startup, you should always find out about the company’s runway. The runway is the time period in which the startup can survive when revenue and expenditure remain constant. It also shows how financially stable the company is. In general, young companies should have about 18 months runway in the startup phase.

2. What are the core values of this company?

If you're convinced of the startup's financial longevity, then in the next step, you should check if the organisation suits you by asking about company values, mission and vision, and where the company would like to be in five to ten years.

3. What is the corporate culture like?

Once you've determined that the mission and values of the company are in line with your own, it's important to get an idea of what it feels like every day. Look closely at the premises and observe the behaviour of the other employees during the interview. Ask what the everyday life in the startup actually looks like, also how much overtime or time at night or over weekends is expected.

4.What risks does the company face?

During the interview make sure to ask the founders of a startup what concerns they have about the future of the business, so that you can analyse the risks that key players are already anticipating.

5. What remunerations or other benefits are offered?

As soon as you’ve had a job offer, you also need to talk about money. Often salaries at startups can’t match those offered in larger, more established companies. That’s when you have to start negotiating and maybe get the company to throw in stock options as an added incentive.


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