With no references available, how did you vet the people in a startup you were thinking of joining?

KD Singh Products & People

April 10th, 2016

Say you have an offer from a startup. People you interviewed with seem to be OK. But you want to vet them more and others (its the folks you don't interview with that cause issues). LinkedIn doesn't show any connections of any degree. How did/do make it happen?

Chuck Bartok Social Media Consultant, Publisher, and Contrarian Curmudgeon

April 10th, 2016

Just ASK and if not forthcoming, say adios.
Another point, if there is not much available through search, chances are they won't be stellar performers.
If your good and their offer is good, sometime good to 'gamble'
Too much emphasis today on NOT relying on 6th sense.
It is more powerful than almost any "vetting" system.

Andreas Hipp Founder and Board Member

April 10th, 2016

Hi KD, In general joining a startup poses one or two more risks than joining an established company but I assume has an additional upside in regards to fun and a sense of contribution besides maybe some additional equity reward. I think its important to decide for oneself first if one is really up for that. Besides the people who are the founders and run it I would also have a good look at the business plan summary at least and verify the feasibility of it. As for getting to know the culture it would be helpful for you to spend at least half a day at their office. We invited senior candidates or key people to spend at least half a day or a full day with our team in the office for a) them to get a feel if its is the right environment and b) for us to get a feel if the person fits into the existing culture. Good luck Best Andreas

Benson John Clinical Program Manager at Express Scripts

April 10th, 2016

Hi KD, if the position you are offered is a key position for the company it is not our of bounds to ask for references for the person you will be reporting to and for any other key personnel you think critical to your success.   Good luck,


Taj Sateesh CEO at Sphinx Resources--The Preferred Recruitment Partners in Hi-Technology R&D & Manufacturing

April 11th, 2016

Hello KD,
Are you asking from a candidate's perspective OR Founder/Employer's perspective?
You seem to be anEntrepreneur/Advisor yourself--hence the query.
The answer would depend & vary a lot on which side of the table one is.

From a candidate's perspective, there are many ways one can get a 'feel' of the culture [it's surely not possible to get a 100% accurate info on culture issues]. 


Saravjit Singh Independent Consultant and Trainer

May 8th, 2016

Talk to them over the phone.
Ask them about their product, its Uniqueness, their past experience -- more important, ask them for their value proposition.
If they are enthusiastic about what they are going to do, and are forthcoming and transparent - go ahead and see them in person.