Top 10 Venture Capital Job Interview Questions – Part 2

June 18, 2008

Continuation of our series of posts on preparing yourself for common questions during a venture capital job interview.

Q: What’s been the most interesting IPO or acquisition in our industry in the past year?
Passion for particular industries and achieving a highly profitable exit are common threads that tie venture capitalists together. This question provides ample opportunity for you to shine. Study the ins and outs of an IPO that relates to the VC firm’s niche interests – and prepare your analysis. Discuss the potential you see for the company, and how they could strengthen their market position. Treat this question as a “test” of your industry knowledge and an opportunity to impress your interviewer with thoughtful analysis.

Q: What blogs do you read? What sparked your interest in the blog sphere this week?
The venture capital world is a highly connected, networked world. Networking is the key in the industry, especially if you are trying to bring new deals to the table. Subsequently, some prominent venture capitalists publish personal blogs, highlighting their perspective on recent deals, upcoming IPOs, and general industry commentary. Reading these blogs can give you insight into the current VC thinking and new developments in the venture capital industry.
In addition, brush up on blogs that may be outside of the VC realm, but are specifically connected to your passions and interests. If green technology is your forte, make sure you can discuss how Google’s RE < C is making changes in renewable energy. If social marketing captures your professional attention, make sure you can speak authoritatively on how corporations should incorporate Twitter into their campaigns. Regardless of your industry, make sure that you are in tune with the blog conversations – showing the VC interviewer that you are highly connected and have your finger on the industry pulse.

Q: Why are you looking to leave your old position?
Make sure you have a well prepared response to this one. Do not to be too critical of your present employer or situation. Negativity is never well received in the interview process. Your answer should concentrate on frustration with not being able to fulfill personal goals on your current path. Answer the question based on some feature of your present employer that hinders the growth that you desire for yourself.

The response should bring attention to your strengths and skills that are being underutilized by your present position and would be a great asset in the venture capital industry, and in particular to the firm with which you are interviewing. At the same time, you do not want to highlight handling tough situations as a weakness, and your answer should present you as someone who is able to handle challenges as part of the job.

Q: Where do you see yourself in five years time?

You want to leave the impression that you are a dedicated individual who seeks long-term commitments. You already have the experience and skills it takes, and you are looking for a career where you can shine.

You should definitely express the intention and diligence to eventually become a general partner of the firm. State that you will earn your promotions by letting the results of your work speak for themselves. Be ready to answer the next question “What types of results can we expect?” and use a professional success story demonstrate what you bring to the table.

Stay tuned for the final chapter of Venture Capital Job interview questions.

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