Applying for Tech Lead Position At A Startup? 5 Things That You Should Know

Some of the best candidates I have come across actually had spotted a few errors with our website or business model in quick 5 minute scan before they interviewed
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I am a non-technical founder, a growth hacker (if you insist on giving me a technical name). I have spent last few weeks interviewing candidates for a tech lead position at Internshala. As difficult as it is to find good technology talent; you, a prospective candidate, can help me a great deal (and also dramatically improve your chances of making the cut) if you keep in mind the following things –

1. Don’t say you want a role with more managerial responsibilities – when asked what you are looking for in your next role. Of course, along the journey and right from the start, I would expect you to build & lead teams, allocate tasks, manage timelines etc. with as much elegance as you write the code. But the very first quality I am looking for in a Tech Lead is a genuine love for programming, for building (or breaking) stuff! Because as a tech lead, you would be shouldering lot of actual development work and this answer of yours makes me wonder if you inherently enjoy coding.Hiring Human Resources

2. Don’t bamboozle me with too many technical terms – You are unlikely to impress me by speaking in a language that I don’t understand. While, over the years, I have picked up sufficient technical knowledge to hold a conversation together but your preference to continuously lace the conversation with latest and heaviest technical terms around makes me wonder about your ability or intent to explain things in simple terms that rest of the team can understand (very crucial for a start up). I once explained how my website gets its customers to my father, who runs a Kirana shop in a village and has only heard of internet, without using any of the CPC, CPM, SEO, SEM jargon.

3. Explain things in detail – An extension of point above, once denied the luxury of jargon, candidates often struggle/make half hearted attempts to explain how they implemented a particular solution or use case. Phrases like “…and all that“, “…and that kind of a thing”, “..blah blah etc.” start appearing at the end of each sentence – a clear sign that the candidate is on shaky ground and has not thought the solution through in as much depth as he/she should have. A really good problem solver would always enjoy discussing the problem and solution threadbare.

4. Take time out to understand my business –  If you are really good, you must have been approached by 100s of other businesses and the fact that you took time out to understand what we do and then applied indicates you are selective and sincere about your application. In any case, there is no excuse for one to not even notice the details that were mentioned in the JD (we write very detailed JDs).

Some of the best candidates I have come across actually had spotted a few errors with our website or business model in quick 5 minute scan before they interviewed and the worst ones had question on whether or not we provide Form 16A as the first question to ask when given an opportunity.

5. Finally, have respect for my time – This is applicable across all roles but more so in case of a technical role where it is really hard to get a candidate who you would like to meet with your rest of the team/investor(s). And once you reach that stage, please do show up or atleast have the courtesy to inform me upfront if you have changed your mind. Keeping an entire team waiting is not just very unprofessional but also earns you lot of bad karma – why would you want that?

If you have read this far, and now that you know all the tricks of what it takes to impress us, why not consider applying for the tech lead role at Internshala? 🙂

[Guest article contributed by Sarvesh Agrawal, Founder of Internshala.]

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