Friday, April 27, 2007

VC Interviewing Best Practices

VC firms hire infrequently. Given the slow cadence of new hires, it is critically important to hire well.

Two years ago, when I interviewed at Hummer Winblad, I went through the traditional in-person interviews where partners probed my educational, operating, technology, and investing background.

The last step in the hiring process, however, proved to be the most challenging and most rewarding. After having met all the partners, I received a call saying that things were looking good. There was one more step, however, that they wanted to me to pass. I remember thinking, okay...what now?

The request...come in two days from now and present your thoughts on the future of the software industry to the full partnership. The guidance...don't mess it up as things were looking good.

I presented the embedded deck to the HWVP team. Since then, I have been asked many times about the process of interviewing at venture firms and what to expect. I believe that a "best practice" is to give the candidate a platform to share their thoughts and analytical skills. One should be prepared to white board or present a deck that lays out an investment thesis, sample company of interest, etc; thereby providing a window into how you think.

The key point is not the deck itself, but rather a "candidate pitch" moves the process from conversation pleasantries to structured information exchange.

The file can be downloaded from here.

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