Informal Interview Experience In The Tech Startup Scence

Yesterday (17th January 2013) I was invited to what was called an “informal interview” @techub, which is located in London’s silicon roundabout. Now for those who don’t know what Techhub is or for that matter what silicon roundabout is, allow me to briefly illiterate for you.  In November 2010, the UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced plans to transform the UK into a major international hub for technology and innovation, with the aim to make London’s Tech City (silicon roundabout) one to rival Silicon Valley. At the heart of this plan, in my opinion is an initiative called Techub. Techhub is a space in London for tech companies, entrepreneurs and others involved in the tech industry to work, mingle and share knowledge.  The purpose is to provide an affordable, accessible environment for like-minded people from the technology industry to change the world through their business.  TechHub was launched in July 2010 at is backed by some big names such as the publishing group Pearson and none other than the search giant Google.

With the brief description out the way, lets me explain more about my informal interview experience.  On the day of the interview I arrived at the lovely offices of Techhub, signed myself in, got myself one of these name badges printed off.Name badge

After which I escorted myself to where I needed to be and sat waiting for my informal interview to start. Whiles I was waiting, there happened to be two people sat either side of me, so I began to chat…. asking questions such as, where are you from and what’s your current occupation etc. Interestingly enough, these fine people where here for the informal interview as well. One was a master’s student at Queens University of London studying Business Accountancy from India and the other currently taking a gap year out looking for inter roles. Anyway, long story short I’m beginning a ramble on. We were called up to begin our informal interview and where taken to an open planned meeting room surrounded by glass with lots of budding tech entrepreneurs around us busy working away at the next big thing.

The scene was now set, coats off and the initiation talk began, at this point I was still in control of my nerves, depict the fact that this was my first ever interview, even thought it was an informal one. The first thing that was said in this interview was of the purpose of it. I had initially be invited because I expressed an interest to intern at a start up company, so this interview was an process of getting to know me and see whether I was “compatible” to work with the start-up companies at techhub. In other words, would I fit in well? After the purpose was explained, I along with my fellow interviewees where asked typical interview question such as why would you like to work for so and so company, what are your strengths and weaknesses and what could you add to a team?  I answered these questions all fairly well expect for when I stumbled at the question about my strengths, oops…. It’s hard to brag about yourself without being too stuck-up or over exaggerating to the point where you are lying about yourself.  Besides that everything else went well, we asked a few questions at the end and then we were invited back to meet some start-ups on the 28th who are looking for interns.

As I began my travels back home, I  noted a few things  that would be useful for an interview the next time round:

  • Think of some questions to ask that can strike up conversations.
  • Think of your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Ask to have a look around if possible to speak to people, especially if it’s a place full of start-ups. You never know what you might learn or discover.

That last point is something I wish I had asked. I only just thought of that while writing up this blog. It would have been a real eye-opener to ask questions to the entrepreneurs that are re-shaping our world though the star-up scene.

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