Andrea and Amanda: Interview Tips for Getting Into VC
Posted: April 6, 2022
Tips from Andrea Tang, Global Director, Employer Brand and Talent Attraction and Amanda Arena, Global Manager, Recruiting
Last month, our partners at HBCUvc gave us the opportunity to share some interview tips for getting into VC. We know it can be a tough industry to break into, so here are a few tips we shared about generally preparing for interviews, and some FAQs from our session with HBCUvc.
Do your research! Look up the firm and the interviewer in advance. Company websites and LinkedIn are all great resources. Get answers to questions like:
What is their investment thesis?
What are some recent investments they have made?
What are their values as a company?
From there, tailor your answers and background to what you know is important to them.
Show your personal impact. When responding to a question about your past experiences, make sure to highlight your contribution and the impact of the action you took. It’s important to give the interviewer insight into the unique value you add to a team and the goals of the firm. Maybe you have some interesting entrepreneurial experience where you drove the digital customer acquisition strategy – what was the result? What was your specific role?
A framework we like to use is the CAR method:
Context – What’s the context of the situation? Why is it significant?
Action – What is the action you took? How did you contribute?
Results – What was the outcome? What did you learn?
Prepare questions. End the interview on a strong note with some thoughtfully prepared questions. Usually, strategic questions are great to showcase your critical thinking. Some examples could be related to their investment thesis, how they’re thinking about the future of the company, trends you’ve seen in the market and how it might impact them, or anything else you’re curious about!
Practice your pitch. As you would any important meeting, it’s important to practice! Sit down with someone you trust and have them ask you mock interview questions. Afterwards, ask them for candid feedback so you can confidently & naturally speak to your background during your interview.
Some common questions from candidates we hear about VC specifically:
What skills should I highlight if I don’t have traditional investment experience?
Two of the most important skillsets we look for are analytical skills & deep curiosity. 1.) Think of experiences where you’ve had to review both qualitative and quantitative data to arrive at a recommendation. What tools did you use? How did you pull insights from the data? 2.) Here at ZX, we fall in love with the problem, not the solution. This means a deep curiosity about the world around you and the problems you believe are worth solving. Pull from experiences where you’ve recognized a consumer pain point, and sourced the best solution to meet it.
How do I answer “Why are you interested in VC”?
Don’t be afraid to ‘get personal’ with this question! VC is an industry with committed, passionate individuals. An entrepreneurial spirit often comes from a personal experience like working for a small family business, falling in love with a startup, or becoming obsessed with an industry or product. Think about what makes your personal interest unique.
Do I need to be an expert in consumer/beverage to work at ZX?
Most of the time, no. We try to build teams that are comprised of diverse backgrounds & experience with different industries. It helps us identify our blind spots, think of creative solutions, and avoid one-track thinking.
What is the biggest difference between a traditional VC or PE firm & a company like ZX?
We invest with a strategic lens, not just financial. If you’re ever interviewing with a CVC like ZX, it’s important to research & read about the “core” business (in our case, AB InBev) to understand the markets, brands, and strategy of the parent company. We always invest with these pieces in mind.
Keep an eye out on our Careers Page for opportunities that open up on our team!