How you can land a 6-figure job In tech with no connections — tips that got me job offers from…
Austin Belcak

How you can land your dream job with no connections, with Purple Squirrel

What is Purple Squirrel?

First a disclaimer, I’m an engineer and innovator who worked with Purple Squirrel for about 6 months helping to develop their app and technology infrastructure, and while I was there I became a believer in their product and mission. The analogy I like is: Purple Squirrel is to recruiting as Airbnb is to the hospitality industry.

We want to democratize access to great work opportunities for people with talent who lack the right network.

This is the mission that Jon Silber, founder and CEO, and his two cofounders wake up with every morning and fall asleep with every night. With that in mind, they set out to build a job referral marketplace. They closed a 2.5M seed round of investment in mid-2016, and recently, they launched a brand new version of the app (and it works great, if I do say so myself!)

Referrals and and Business Networking Are The Most Effective Way To Get Hired

While working on this product we discovered the same kind of things and statistics as Austin Belcak cited in his popular post. Here’s another one: 64% of new hires last year at Fortune 500 companies had an inside connection.

Skip the line, and skip LinkedIn

You probably already know how frustrating it is to get a job through the traditional channels of job postings and submitting your resume. But if you don’t have a personal connection inside a company, currently you don’t have many other avenues.

While whole-heartedly agreeing with Mr. Belcak’s importance on nurturing individual connections and good communication skills, Purple Squirrel offers a different, valuable tool for your job search. It’s another avenue than the LinkedIn networking strategy outlined in his post.

Cold-contacting people is time consuming — and it’s demoralizing. Trying to get a job interview through LinkedIn networking can be like trying to get a date on OkCupid when you’re an awkward guy.

Most people, if they ever even open and read your email, will not respond because they have too many other concerns.

Alternatively, you can easily book a 30-minute conversation with an advocate that works at your desired target company, in a few minutes.

A Brief Tour of Purple Squirrel

How It Works

And Boom! You’re possibly on your way to an electrifying career at Tesla (Note: Purple Squirrel can’t make any promises, and a job referral, if available, can only be made in accordance with the individual company policy).

After requesting an engagement, you will find out within two days if your advocate accepted your request, or if she or he needs to reschedule.

What to expect

Depending on what the advocate offers, you can choose from a few different options upon booking an engagement: “Informational Interview”, “Interview Advice”, “Consideration for Employee Referral”, or “Resume Critique”.

Especially if you select Resume Critique, you will need to upload your resume to Purple Squirrel with plenty of time for your advocate to get it before your scheduled engagement time.

Regardless of which you choose, it’s a good idea to prepare yourself like you would for any interview: research the company, and find out as much as you can about the role you are interested in. Come prepared with some questions, a one- to five-minute pitch about yourself, and your unbridled curiosity. And, need I say, plan to be in a quiet place where you have a good connection and can talk comfortably for 30 minutes.

While I mentioned that Purple Squirrel bills itself as a job referral marketplace, it’s much more than that. It’s a great place learn insights about a certain industry, a particular role, to practice your personal pitch and interviewing skills, and expand your professional network.

Why pay for informational interviews?

While working at Purple Squirrel, a few times the question came up while discussing the product with friends of “why is this a paid service?” Actually, there are a few good reasons:

  • Purple Squirrel advocates will give you their full attention for 30 minutes. This is enough time for you to get to know them, learn valuable insights about the company, and pitch your story to them. It’s rare out in the world to expect someone you don’t know to give this kind of attention.
  • Purple Squirrel advocates also agree to give you written feedback after your 30 minute engagement. This feedback can be very valuable, and because they are not your friend, they can be objective.
  • Paying for an engagement motivates both parties to put their best foot forward and treat it seriously.

And, like I said before, you can’t lose. Even if you don’t get a job interview as a result of it, you’ll get valuable information and insights, and practice.

If you’ve ever spent time looking for a job: sifting through job listings, tweaking your resume, sending out emails and cover letters, and you think about the grande lattes and scones you’ve bought while conducting your job search, you will know that spending $20 or even $100 for the right connection is a no-brainer.

Ready to try it?

If you’re ready to try it out Purple Squirrel, head over to and book your first engagement.