Acing the Venture Capital Interview

Published: Mar 31, 2009

While competition is tough, VC firms are always looking for people. When a firm finds someone they really like, they can afford to hire them. The simple reason is that the "right" person will add a lot more value than they cost. <p>So who is the "right" person? As it turns out, the right person for a VC firm can have almost any background --degrees ranging from psychology to English, and industry experience from non-profit and government to management consulting, investment banking, business operations, and of course, entrepreneurial activities. <p>Then what are venture capital firms looking for? An intangible quality --a winning personality and keen business judgment. VC firms are tiny compared to most other professional outfits. They are high-pressure partnerships where the alchemy of strong personalities becomes critical to the success of the firm. VC candidates often interview with every professional at a firm --and typically, everyone in the firm has veto power.<p>On the other hand, VC interviews are not tricky. Generally, there are no brainteasers or case questions. A VC interview is a chance for venture capitalists to get a sense of you, the same way they do when meeting with entrepreneurs. That's how VCs make investment decisions --by gut instinct. Hiring is no different.As a result, the interviews are often very personal in nature. You may be asked questions about your family, your friends, your former co-workers and bosses, even your romantic relationships. The VC wants to know if he/she can bear to work closely with you and depend on you for million dollar decisions. Pay attention to your meetings with analysts and associates when interviewing. They are often just as important, if not more so, than the partners.

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