Start-Ups Pretending to Hire Enterprise AE's to Gather Sales Strategies!!!

Hey Everyone-


I noticed a trend recently and I'm starting to draw a heavy correlation with the processes of these small start-ups that barely have a "baked" product but schedule numerous calls with you; specially their "CRO" who isn't a sales person at all, rather a co-founder who's an engineer most of the time. The questions are heavily inundated with what we would consider B2B sales 101 and typically aren't questions asked of us at real sales-centric companies.


To keep it short- am I the only one that feels like they aren't interviews and more of ways that these companies save money by asking us how a sales cycle is run, persona defined, what a 30-60-90 looks like, etc in hopes of them creating their GTM strategy? This company was specifically started by a small group out of India and they were ALL engineers with some stage A funding. They have 3 customers but don't have a fully baked product. They recorded all the interviews for "informational purposes."


I think they are trying to skimp out on consulting fees and doing the real work by wasting experienced candidates time and aggregating all the interview data to help them launch.


Am I crazy? I just feel like my experience was vetted for no purpose of hiring.

โ˜๏ธ Software Tech
๐Ÿ‘ฅ Hiring
๐ŸŽ™ Interviews/Podcasts
43
CuriousFox
WR Officer
30
Senior Account Executive
This is exactly why I refuse to do projects for interviews. I don't work for free.
antiASKHOLE
Big Shot
5
Account Executive
You can say that again for those in the back. Just a little louder... it's ok, you can yell.
Kosta_Konfucius
Politicker
3
Sales Rep
Are these typically for Series A leadership roles? Never hear anything like this but I have only interviewed for ICs
TheCurator
Valued Contributor
5
Enterprise Account Executive
No this was for an Enterprise AE role; regular IC. The questions asked were a bit of out normal scope and I got a feeling around the 3rd round that I was being tugged on- and not in the way I like. I'm pretty pissed as I know for sure I was used for information. How often are your interviews recorded??
honytawk
Good Citizen
1
Enterprise Account Executive
Had mine recorded recently but I did get the offer, I will say the experience was way more typical than what you're describing which adds layers of red flags. I've had plenty of similar experiences selling into that area of the world, however.
BlueJays2591
Politicker
3
Business Development Manager
I've sadly done so many projects just to get a job. I hate it with a passion
SDM
Politicker
0
Sales development manager
Same here... I can relate
Kinonez
Celebrated Contributor
0
WR Enthusiast
I actually know a few companies that do this with no intention of hiring. If any company asks for this is a HUGE red flag, never work for free.
honeybell
0
Director of Sales
Have you turned them down before? If so, what do you say when they ask you to do a project?
TennisandSales
Politicker
3
Enterprise Account Executive
yeah this could totally be a thing. I have not been asked to do a 30-60-90 plan but i think its kind of a waste.

like we cant know for sure what is going to happen in day 45 and that could really effect what day 60 and beyond will be like.
BourbonKing
Valued Contributor
3
VP of Sales
Kinda genius on their part...sucks for those of us who fall into that trap. Thanks for sharing!
ri_ri
WR Officer
3
Account Executive
Very interesting you posted this as I just experienced a similar interview. I was left stunned because they kept asking me about my currentโ€™s company go to market strategy etc. it didnโ€™t feel like an interview at all. The VP who interviewed me never worked in sales, but is currently VP of Enterprise Sales. After that interview they asked me to sign an NDA and do a project and I refused because it didnโ€™t make sense to me. My current company is not a competitor nor is in the same industry so why would they keep asking me about what my current company is doing. The only explanation I came up with was that they were impressed by my current companyโ€™s growth and wanted me to share strategies employed to experience fast growth(as if Iโ€™d know too much about it, just a lowly sales person here hahahah)
WhoDey
Opinionated
3
VP of Sales
Interviewing with a start-up = free consulting
DPRM
Politicker
0
Ms Sales :)
I so agree with this...Regrettably
BostonBoss
Old School Bravo
3
VP of Sales
This absolutely happens and it is one of the cheap Founder moves. If a Founder doesn't have any sales friends or at least people they can pay to give real sales advice (ie. investors), its a big red flag.
Sunbunny31
Politicker
2
Sr Sales Executive
I'm sorry, it does sound a little shady.

There's a difference between asking what you have a plan for when you start, what your 30/60/90 is - and asking what one is and specifics around that kind of planning. It does seem a bit as though they're trying to learn sales. Whether that's to understand better if you know what you're talking about and can hit the ground running without their oversight, or whether they're using you to set up their own plans isn't super clear. The recording is a bit suspect, though.
mastersfan
Valued Contributor
1
Account Executive
Super shady and absolutely what theyโ€™re doing. After watching this FTX nonsense Iโ€™m pretty sour on tech as a field, little to no trust in the founders
Sunbunny31
Politicker
2
Sr Sales Executive
It really depends on the business. Iโ€™ve worked for a few small companies, only one of which had terrible leadership. The ones that are good donโ€™t make the news.
mastersfan
Valued Contributor
0
Account Executive
Sadly they should, for the right reasons I mean
Sunbunny31
Politicker
1
Sr Sales Executive
True of all news, really. That said, the majority of companies arenโ€™t shady.
jefe
Arsonist
2
Head of Sales
I have not seen this but it doesn't surprise me. Definitely sketchy as hell.
ChumpChange
Politicker
2
Channel Manager
Just by reading this... I'm already guessing it's a Series A company.
dbrooks
Old School Bravo
2
sales hunter
Yup. This is not unusual. Be there and never heard back. Up to 5-6 rounds of interviews. Never heard back. Not even a thank you for your time. Disgusting behavior from these companies.
DisSaaStersince2015
Personal Narrative
2
Enterprise Account Executive
Iโ€™ve been interviewing a lot lately in the smaller space and have found the conversation to center mainly on โ€œsales processโ€ and making contact with relevant targets. Maybe itโ€™s just the new normal of it being so much harder to reach your actual buyers!
DesperadoDinero
Executive
2
Business Development Manager
trojan horsing the foot soldiers for playbooks - a play in itself
Spartyforlife
2
NewBizDev-Regional Sales Director
Yup. Agree 100%. I had a conversation with Influencer start up yesterday, but at least he was honest with me (friend of a friend). The one thing he mentioned as I share an outline for his GTM business plan, might be that if he gets the needed funded, he may want to hire me at the end of 1Q. How many of you think THAT's going to happen? Uhm...nope.
CSuiteCloser
Personal Narrative
2
Go-To-Market, Director of National Accounts
It's a catch 22...You don't know if they are just mining you for information with no intention of hiring you, or they legitimately want to get a deeper understanding of who they are going to spend possibly ten's of thousands of dollars on before a deal is actually closed. It's easy to say "I don't work for free", but if you are at the end of a multi-interview process and you are at least mentally invested, if you have a few hours to burn, do it. We are all in sales. Consider it a sales call. Some prospects lead you on and essentially waste your time and some you close. Just like in the field...If you don't get the sale, move on!
maxmartin
Valued Contributor
1
Senior Sales Executive
Thanks for sharing this man! That needs to be considered for whichever interview you may be doing with startups by refusing to do projects to avoid being used!!
UghHereWeGo
Member
1
Uber Eats Driver
There was a period of time where I had 10+ interviews a week with hoops to jump through and projects.

Interviewers would flat out say they want to compare what I've done to what they are doing to see what works best. Many interviews have turned into me giving advice. Sadly, I have obliged to projects and advice since I needed a job.

Sales leaders that know what they are doing and actually possess the skills to develop employees don't do this to people.

Personally, it's difficult for me to even interview anymore and it's absurd that companies do this.
Pachacuti
Politicker
0
They call me Daddy, Sales Daddy
Dude why are you interviewing with these guys?

Some of those questions you outlined are legit, but Iโ€™d they donโ€™t have a market strategy nor a market ready product - those are red flags. Run, donโ€™t walk, away.
TheCurator
Valued Contributor
0
Enterprise Account Executive
Worst part about all of this is: it's a company that used Bravado to schedule the interview process with me. I don't want to out the company bc I could be wrong but it just feels like this was the case
baudolino
Good Citizen
0
Senior Account Executive
I had the same experience with a Series A. They wanted me to create a GTM plan LOL. I asked for the salary range and it was low so I didnโ€™t do sh*t for them. But I remember thinking โ€œThatโ€™s a great way to get free ideas from candidatesโ€ฆโ€.
SexyWexy
Contributor
0
Pro Development
This is what Iโ€™ve been saying for years.
goose
Politicker
0
Sales Executive
From their perspective it seems like a great idea. From my perspective it seems like I'd rather mow the lawn.
activity
Valued Contributor
0
VP, Business Development
You're not crazy. I think this goes on more than we realize. I agree with @CuriousFoxno projects, we don't work for free.
salesfromthehood
0
Business Development
Interesting...you might be on to something.
MontyMoose
Good Citizen
0
VP of Sales
Iโ€™ve been through that loop a few times over the years and came to a similar conclusion: youโ€™re just giving them a consultation for free.

I donโ€™t feature homework in any stages of my interview process.
7

How to hire a first AE / sales lead for an API startup?

Question
7
9

Whatโ€™s the best companies to reach out to for SDR / BDR roles for a career changer looking for solid base comp and decent OTE (financial advisor made 120k last year 3 years hit quota every year cold calling running the sales process so I think I have relevant AE skills but I get taking a step down since I have no SAAS sales skills. (However I have 1.5 years of IT recruiting experience where I also crushed quota and learned a bit about IT broadly) Thanks

Question
16
9

If you join a SaaS company and thrive at the beginning due to inbound leads and good SDR and then sales start going down due to a change of SDR and less inbounds, does that mean youโ€™re not a competent sales person or does it mean itโ€™s time to move on to another company?

Question
17