Are you on the lookout for an exciting job opportunity doing work that matters? The best place to start your job hunt is with startups. Why? Because startups have an urgent need to recruit talented people. Usually, there is always at least twice the amount of work as there are people in the company. Not only do you get to wear many hats and face countless learning opportunities, but you can also shape the course of the company. Therefore, if you’re planning to do a sprint at a great company that will open up your career, working at a startup is the way to go. So in this post, we talk about different startup stages and how they hire, so you can pick the right startup to work for. 

Early-stage startups

At this startup stage, the startup has 3-30 people and hasn’t hit the growth stage yet. Most likely, there are little to no processes in place on how to hire new talent. Which means there will be no hiring manager or recruiter. So you will have to reach out to the person in charge of the function you are applying for. In most cases, this will be the founder/s, CEO, or CTO of the startup. Remember they may not use popular channels to recruit talent or advertise their vacancies as big companies do. You will have to be more proactive in your search and dig deep into your networks. 

Once you figure out whom to contact, make sure your message highlights exactly in what area and how you can contribute. Define what interests you most about their business and the function you want to work in, and how you will add value to those. At the same time show that you are willing to step up and take on different responsibilities when needed. However, if you send the same old cover letter including generic descriptions of how open-minded and good at teamwork you are, don’t be surprised if you get ignored. Because one thing early-stage startups, or any company for that matter, don’t have, is time for people who are shooting in the dark. 

Medium startups

These startups have round 50-150 people and have raised their A or B round of funding usually between $7 to just over $10 million. They belong to the early part of the growth-stage and most likely have their hiring processes, and a manager in charge of it, in place. The different roles in the company, together with the responsibilities and tasks assigned to them, will be more defined. You might find their job vacancies on job sites, social media, and the company’s career page. However, to pick the right startup to join, it’s still really important for you to be proactive in your job search. 

The best contact person to help you with applying for a job at a medium startup is their hiring manager. As an applicant be prepared to go through multiple rounds of interviews. Keep in mind that you are most likely getting considered for a specialized role. So you really need to showcase your interests and skills in contributing to this area. Also, back it up with examples from previous work and project experiences you have. One great advantage of joining a medium startup is that you are likely to get more guidance when you start and along the way.

Large startups

Lager startups have over 150 people and they are often going through a rapid growth phase. They usually have a highly segmented hiring process and even more specialized and distinctive teams. You’ll spot their vacancy advertisements on popular job sites and social media channels. Most likely, there’ll be an electronic application form to fill in and submit directly. You will have to work harder to stand out at every interview stage from the initial application to technical assignments to face-to-face interviews.

To pick the right startup to join remember to do your homework! Thoroughly research the startup, its product as well as its competitors. Fast-growing startups get a lot of attention in the job market and are likely bombarded with many job applications every day. So as mentioned before getting noticed can be quite the challenge. Make your job application concise, relevant, and interesting for both the hiring manager and any algorithms tracking keywords. The upside is that large startups are a fountain of learning opportunities, especially if you’re looking to develop your expertise in a specific niche area. For instance, if you are focusing on a particular technology or learning how to scale a scales approach.

 

The bottom line is no matter which type of startup you are applying to remember these key tips.

  • Be proactive – Search for different companies. Be brave and make the first communication. Ask help from your network.
  • Do your research – Dig deep into the startup, their line of business, and plans for the future.
  • Define your interest – Point out which area you want to contribute in and what you’ll bring to the table.

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