Top 10 Venture Capital Job Interview Questions – Part 3

June 25, 2008

If your Venture capital resume was good enough to land you an interview, these questions should be helpful in landing the offer.

Q: How would you evaluate a possible portfolio company and their business plan?
You have to emphasize your ability to look beyond the numbers and read between the lines. Evaluating financial facts is much different than forecasting revenue potential. In an early stage investment, two things will make the difference between success and failure: seasoned management and sales potential. Understanding how to effectively evaluate the leadership and reality of the market demand is crucial. The key to any venture capital investment is the future prospects of the market.
This understanding should be central in your response to this question. You should tailor your answer to showcase how your experience and successes have developed your ability to project demand and forecast sales. If you have accomplishments where you developed a nascent concept into a market success, make sure to discuss how those experiences lend well to a venture capital career.

Q: Tell me about your most challenging professional experience.
This is a great opportunity to make a lasting impression – take advantage of it. Remember that you would not be where you are at this moment, if you didn’t have the experience that makes this VC firm interested in you.

Choose an experience from your resume that showcases exactly how your skills help you overcome obstacles and challenges that would arise in a venture capital career. If you were involved with a start-up organization that floundered, use that experience to showcase how your leadership turned around the situation or explain the lessons learned from that experience. Remember, we tend to learn more from our mistakes than our successes. Discuss how your company released a product or service that did not perform well in initial market testing – and how you utilized that information to create alternative uses or features that drove an eventual success.

Q: What industries are of greatest interest to you?
The response to this question should be tailored to the individual firm you are interviewing. Venture capital firms tend to be highly specialized, and your answer must reflect that specialization. With your hours of preparation and research prior to your interview, specific answers should come easy to you. One of the ways to distinguish yourself would be to propose complementary and new, but related, niches to the firm. The company may disagree with your suggestions. However, if you can provide compelling reasons for your proposals, you will have demonstrated industry insight and creativity that will go a long way in impressing your interviewer.

Q: What have you personally invested in?
Venture capitalists make a living putting their “money where their mouth is,” and they expect that you should too. Taking calculated risks for the long-term reward is an important characteristic to demonstrate. Whereas your personal portfolio may not contain equity in burgeoning start-up ventures, you can always show that your brokerage account shines with the industry’s best and brightest – and how you placed them into your stock portfolio long before the general investing public got caught up in the hype.

You are aiming for an industry focused on startups and adding value to early stage development companies. Emphasize that in the discussion of your portfolio; especially investments in companies related to the particular specialties of the VC firm.

Q: Is there anything I can tell you about our firm? What questions do you have?
This type of question will typically occur at the end of the interview. It represents the final opportunity to differentiate yourself from your competition. You need to focus on asking questions on the current activities of the firm not previously brought up in the interview process. Demonstrate your understanding of the firm’s specialties and be sure to ask what they are looking for in a candidate and how well you measure up to that standard.

This is known as “closing the deal” and you should never leave a venture capital job interview without a strong close.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post:

Real Time Web Analytics