I have been on both sides of the hiring process with tech startups.
I have experienced horrible interviews and great ones, again from both ends, so here it is:
Tip 1: Put your network to work
Expand that circle! There is no time to be shy if you are looking to get into a tech startup. That means all of you introverts are going to have to look at someone else’s shoes while talking to them.
Seriously though, talk to the people you know and ask if they know of anything interesting. People love to help other people, so go ahead and stick your hand out and see what opportunities are out there, you will be surprised!
Tip 2: Find a Startup that DESERVES you!
Finding startups that are hiring is not difficult, you can go to angel.co, startup-jobs.co, or any other number of startup centric job sites.
You want to find a startup that you believe to be a winner. What is a winner?
The products/services are killer, you would be a customer and tell all your friends and family to use it.
The founding team is dedicated and qualified. Even if a startup has a great product/service offering, you will find yourself wasting alot of time with an unfocused team.
I learned the hard way, finding myself with a great service and an unfocused team, not capable of executing.
Tip 3: Be a person and tell your story
Stop giving out that boilerplate resume! Tell stories and be relatable. Startups have strong cultures within them. Make the hiring manager feel comfortable adding you to the team.
When the interviewer is asking questions, give them more than a simple answer. If they ask you about something that could be answered with a simple yes or no, go ahead and elaborate, take control and take this time to let them know more about you.
Tip 4: Develop a round character for yourself
Resumes and interviews are stuffy in nature and they develop a character for you to portray in the business world; however, this character doesn’t have to be flat.
Mention other projects, that you have going on. Do you have a bitcoin mining operation on the side? Or maybe you tinker on nights and weekends with CAD files and your self assembled 3D printer.
Whatever it is that you may do on the side, let them know!
Tip 5: Immerse yourself in the community
Time to peruse!
- read (something), typically in a thorough or careful way.
- “he has spent countless hours in libraries perusing art history books and catalogues”
Read everything about the industry and startup! Where and why have the failures taken place? Then get active, ask questions in the community and identify key persons.
Tip 6: Impress with unprecedented knowledge
After Tip 5, you should have sufficient information to know more than anyone expected you to. Don’t be arrogant though, accept that you don’t know it all. Some one smart once said, “people who know a little tend to think they know it all, while people who know a lot tend to think they only know a little” roughly.
Tip 7: Be humble
It is important to be humble, even though you are super qualified and know all of the relevant information in the industry. There is no room for ego in a startup. People have to work together and often be flexible with what they are asked to do.
Tip 8: Be Proactive
So, you found the perfect startup, got involved with the community and have done your due diligence on everything associated with the aforementioned startup. What?! No job openings? No problem!
Contact their hiring department and start pitching yourself. Tell them you are interested in working for them. Show them your dedicatoin and desire to being there. Volunteer to do things for them. They will likely consider you for any new openings or create a position for you.
Tip 9: Get Creative
Hiring managers can get burned out on sifting through resumes. Consider thinking outside of the box to bring some extra attention to your resume.
For example: I once shipped my resume in a 4x4 foot orange box. You better believe, that I got a response!
What if they aren’t hiring? You already read all things relating to the startup as advised in Tip 5. What issues is the startup facing? Pitch ideas to them, if they are any good, they might make a position for you, rather than let a problem solver escape their grasps!