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How to research a company

When you are interviewing, companies don’t tell you all the information.

While the Company Database gives you powerful insights, when you go deeper in the interview process, you will want to ask direct questions to ensure you have as much information as possible.

👌🏼 Don’t forget to add what you learn to the Company Database to help other executives!

Questions you should be asking

What does the company’s GTM model look like?

  • Do they have Product Market Fit

  • Do they have Channel Market Fit

  • Is Top of Funnel Working? What channels are working and can they scale top of funnel

  • Where are the biggest limitation(s) in their funnel. There always is at least one

  • What is gross, net retention. Companies with gross retention under 85% will struggle to scale. Companies with over 120% net retention are well positioned.

Is the space attractive?

  • Are there barriers to entry

  • Is it a mature space: Ask “of the last 100 customers you have added, how many were new to what you do vs. switched from competitors?” If the % that are switched is greater than 25%, it is likely maturing quickly (and the breakout period is over)

How is the company positioned financially?

  • What is runway

  • What is last valuation. Is IPO or acquisition still on table or have they lost all the options but IPO (tougher place to be but happens as valuation goes up)

  • How efficient is the company? You can judge the efficiency of a company by revenue per employee. Ideally companies are >$150k at Startup/Early stages and >$250k by Mid/Late stages

Is the culture a place you want to work?

  • What is the CEO like (personality wise, tech/GTM focus…) as a company always takes their culture from the CEO

  • Is there lots of turnover at senior levels

  • Is the senior management team experienced or doing it for the first-time

Is the org structure in place for you to succeed?

  • What dependency functions will you work closely with?

  • How is your boss to work with? The user manual approach is a great way to diligence this

  • Is this a new role or a backfill?

Who can help you diligence a company?

Don’t just talk with people on your interview panel. Triangulate and get lots of data points to help you make the right decision, including:

  • People you interview with: Come prepared with hard questions. A great way to start the interview is “Feel free to start with your questions, but I’ve got lots of questions I’m excited to ask too”. Come prepared and never run out of questions;).

    • Don’t hesitate to ask if there is someone you want to meet.

    • If there is someone you will be working with closely but who isn’t on the interview panel it is good to ask why not. (particularly, make sure you meet your boss’ boss)

  • Whispered: Use the community and also Whispered's Company Insights with contributions from hundreds of executives.

  • Backdoor references: Use LinkedIn to find people who used to work at the company (Use the “Past Company” filter in a “People” search)

  • Network references: As you start to get deeper with a company, share the company you are talking with when you are speaking with your network. Often they will know someone there who can help.

Do you know how to pick the right company and role?


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