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Tips on How to Get Hired at a Startup

Mar 02, 2023
6 min read

Are you interested in getting a job at a startup? Especially if you’re moving from the corporate world into a startup world, this will require the right mindset, flexibility and can be intimidating on a personal level, but if you want to learn and grow then you have to get out of your comfort zone. There’s few better ways to do it than to join a company in the stages where it is getting built. To help you navigate this below are some tips to help you ace the hiring process and land your dream job with a startup.

Try the product!

Before interviewing for the job, make sure to use the startup’s product or service. Try it out, read about it, and understand the use-case and customer’s needs. Understanding the product will help you identify pain points and brainstorm potential solutions to share during your interview.

Know what’s happening at the STARTUP 

Keep an eye on startup funding announcements, and reach out to the CEO before the job even exists. Other updates (product upgrades/releases, major announcements) can also be leveraged by you to understand what’s happening and to highlight this – as a signal of your interest, seriousness and preparedness – to the founder of the startup.


Researching something that you find interesting about the market, target customer, and/or the competition of the startup, will help you stand out and show off your motivation and determination to join full-time.

Network and hustle

At a startup, referrals carry a ton of weight for two reasons: human biases, and the fact that it’s really hard for startups to attract talent (and the specific type of talent on top of it!). If you have industry connections, use them to your advantage. Referred candidates have a better chance of getting an interview because the CEO is usually the one making all the hiring decisions. Also, cultural fit is critical at startups, and a referred candidate is more likely to be a good match owing to the referrer knowing the candidate (hopefully;).


What you can bring to the table matters a lot at startups! You’re expected – as any employee – to hit the ground running and contribute, in your field and function, as well as by wearing multiple hats at the company. that’s why curiosity and creativity are highly valued at startups. Moreover, you should explain how you could add value to their company, and you may then land an interview.

Show OFF YOUR creativity

When sending a cold email, you need to get creative to land an interview. Instead of relying on your resume, identify a challenge the company faces and share your solution. This will demonstrate your passion and problem-solving skills.

A great way of highlighting this is by contacting someone or two+ people at the startup via email or LinkedIn, but make it about them/about the startup, not about yourself, and highlight where you could be adding value specifically. The better the example, the more likely you are to attract their attention.

Ask relevant questions

Asking insightful questions during an interview shows you are passionate and engaged. Ask about the company’s plans for the next five years, and how the role fits in. This demonstrates your interest in the company’s long-term success and your desire to stay in the role for a while.

Signal your personality & culture fit

A strong company culture is essential to a thriving startup. During the interview, demonstrate how well you align with the company’s values and mission. Research the company and ask yourself if you share the same view. Use the interview to transmit your shared beliefs to the interviewer.

You can also try Gyfted’s cultural assessment to highlight traits and preferences that could make you a fit for the company. You can also try to showcase this in a Personality CV or Personality Resume to the team.


After the interview, send a brief thank-you email to show your appreciation and interest in the job. Make sure it’s brief. Following up also demonstrates your determination.

By following these tips, you’ll increase your chances of landing a job at a startup. Don’t be intimidated by differences between the corporate world and the startup environment, what matters is your attitude, mindset, willingness to learn and get out of your comfort zone, and whether the company’s team is a culture fit for you, plus whether the product/market and mission are aligned and you are or could be motivated by what the startup is doing. Instead, use these differences to your advantage and show the CEO why you’re the best candidate for the job. Good luck.

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