8.5 Insider Tips on Getting Hired by a Startup


I recently took the lead on hiring a new team member at Jimdo, the startup where I work. I posted a job listing, sifted through hundreds of applicants, found the top tier and performed initial interviews. I then invited the very best to come in for a half-day trial and meet the boss.

Startups are looking for talented, versatile people and that affects the hiring process. In a small office, everyone participates in many kinds of projects — all hands on deck is an everyday practice. So not only will a startup be looking for someone with a varied skillset, but also someone who can be a team player. In a small office, you certainly get to know everyone well, and you need to learn to work with everyone quickly.

1. Know the company’s product. During our first round of interviews, several people came in who claimed that they hadn’t had time to try out our website builder. It takes less than one minute to get up and running with our (free) product, and anyone who has used a website builder before can create something quick and dirty within 10 minutes. That’s 11 minutes.

2. Learn about the company’s culture. The company culture is going to affect how you prepare for your interview, and whether you even want to apply in the first place. Should you wear a suit to the interview, or are there photos of the team wearing T-shirts all over the company’s website? Is there a never-ending supply of beer in the fridge, or are you expected to be professional in the office at all times?

3. Know the industry and the competitors. The startup world is, by nature, very competitive. Because every company starts from scratch, they have to work their way up to gain market share and attain success. Thus, a huge part of working for a startup is knowing the industry and the company’s competitors.

4. Have an online presence. If you’re going to interview with a tech startup, having a developed online presence is an important way to prove that you are a valuable candidate. While sending a resume and a cover letter is usually enough, also including a complete LinkedIn profile and a website exhibiting your portfolio, resume or hobby makes you stand out from the crowd of applicants and backs up your claims that you would be a valuable asset to the company. Read more…

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