6 Steps to Get Hired at a Startup

There's never a dull moment when working at a startup. Getting a job at a startup can be exciting and rewarding, but your path to getting hired will be very different from landing a job at an established company. An innovative self-starter mindset is critical for success when looking for work at a startup. While you might find a variety of openings for roles at established companies on job boards, the role you want at a startup might not even exist yet. So, you'll need to take a different approach to land your first startup job.

Know the Business Inside and Out

At a startup, passion about the company and mission is key. Learn as much as you can about the company you’re hoping to work for, its products and services, and employee culture. Research the business to learn more about current positions and future goals. Follow all the startup's social media channels to get updates in real-time, and to learn more about company culture. If possible, purchase and use the company’s product(s). Note what is best about it, and in which ways it could be improved. Consider how your past professional and personal experiences will be relevant in helping the startup reach its goals.

Be Proactive in Meeting People in the Industry

A considerable amount of information about any startup is spread through word of mouth. Networking and gaining industry knowledge are vitally important when you're hoping to get a position in a startup. Entrepreneurs who are busy getting a company off the ground may not have time to post job listings or learn how to get such listings noticed by the right candidates. This means positions are often filled through existing connections. To get your foot in the door, seek out startup events and industry conferences, and make connections on LinkedIn. Make your name known and take part in important conversations.

Garner Referrals

While your resume is still a part of the process, people who can vouch for your capabilities may be even more important. Working for a startup requires a unique combination of skills, passion, and a desire to learn and grow. If you're the right candidate to fill one of these demanding roles, your behavior in other workplaces will clarify why you have what it takes.Speak with previous employers and coworkers before you submit your resume. Let them know what startup you're interviewing for so they can be prepared to highlight your most relevant skills. A fully rounded description of your passion and skills is more likely to get you in the door than a bulleted list of accomplishments on your resume.

Show Off the Person Behind the Resume

You know why you have the right personality to help a startup grow. To authentically convey your qualifications to your interviewer, you'll have to show legitimate enthusiasm and passion for the company. Startups love to hear why you're interested in what they're doing and what you have to bring to the table. These details can be derived from your energy, specific details about your history, and stories that illustrate who you are as a person. Don't be afraid to color outside the lines a bit more than you would at a conventional interview. Sharing personal details that are relevant to the skills needed by a startup might be the secret sauce for landing the position.

Share Soft Skills

While it's important to be familiar with the company and position you want to fill, you can expect to wear many hats in any startup role. Besides the qualifications that make you stand out in the industry, a startup will be interested in soft skills that make you a team player in a company that is growing every day. If you can go beyond sharing your duties in former roles to show your flexibility, drive, adaptability to change, and curiosity to learn new things, you'll go a long way toward proving that you're startup material.Share accomplishments that illustrate you took the initiative to learn new things. Highlight knowledge and hobbies that could prove valuable to the team. Describe situations when you've been willing to work outside your role to reach company goals. All of these skills will be required in a startup position, so if you can convey them in an authentic manner, you'll be one step ahead of the competition.

Talk to a Recruiter

Recruiting firms work with professionals in a variety of industries. While it's common for established companies to work with staffing agencies, startups benefit greatly from this method of hiring as well. For busy startups, time is money, and relying on a recruiting firm can offer a wealth of benefits. When a startup has yet to establish an internal hiring team or HR department, company leaders rely heavily on a recruiting partner to do the heavy lifting.  Recruiting companies with experience in staffing startups can provide the company with candidates that match both qualifications, and company culture. When you talk to a recruiter, share details about your interest in startups and why your career path, skills, and personality make you a perfect fit.

Career Group Companies is a leading recruiting firm with offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, New York City, and Greenwich. Our recruiters work in a variety of industries to pair top talent with leading companies. We work with both established companies and startups in every industry to help make career matches that benefit both parties. Searching for a way to fill vacant roles in your startup? Learn more about a our process and let us bring top talent to you. Hoping to find the inside track to landing a startup job? Learn more about our unique hiring process, or find work today.

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Founded in 1981 by Susan Levine, Career Group Companies was created to set a higher standard for recruiting. For over four decades, we’ve partnered with our valued candidates and clients to cultivate perfect career matches for administrative, creative, fashion, events, and executive professionals at top companies nationwide.

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