How to Get Hired at a Startup

Get Hired at a Startup

Tips for Diverse and Unusual Applicants

The startup world is known for its dynamic, fast-paced environment and innovative approach. This is a sector that places a premium on creativity, agility, and disruption. As such, it can present exciting opportunities for individuals from diverse backgrounds or those with unusual experiences or skills. However, getting hired at a startup can sometimes seem like a daunting task, especially if you feel like you are think you might not be a "cultural fit". Here are some tips to help you stand out and successfully navigate the startup hiring process.

1. Understand Startup Culture

Startups are unique in their culture and approach to work. They often value flexibility, innovation, and a "can-do" attitude over hierarchy and even experience. Understanding this culture can give you an advantage when applying. Research the startup's mission, values, and work style. Use this information to tailor your application and interview responses, showing how you align with and can contribute to this culture.

2. Highlight Your Unique Value

Your diversity or unusual background can be an asset. Startups thrive on the unique perspectives that come from a diverse team. In your application, highlight how your unique experiences, skills, or perspectives can contribute to the startup's success. Provide concrete examples of how you've used these unique assets to solve problems or create value in the past.

3. Demonstrate Your Adaptability

Startups are dynamic and can pivot quickly, so demonstrating your adaptability is key. This can be particularly relevant if your background is in a different industry or field. Show how you've successfully adapted to new situations or challenges in the past, and make it clear that you're ready and eager to learn new skills and take on new responsibilities.

4. Show Initiative and Passion

Startups value initiative and passion. If you're passionate about the startup's mission or product, make sure to express that in your application and interview. Don't just say you're passionate—show it. This could mean coming up with ideas for how you could contribute to the startup's goals, or sharing relevant projects or experiences that demonstrate your enthusiasm and initiative.

5. Network

Networking can be especially important in the startup world. Startups often rely on referrals when hiring, so having a connection within the company can be a huge advantage. The good news is, startup are easy to meet.  The are trying to get attention. Attend startup events, join online communities, or reach out to people in the startup on LinkedIn. Even if you don't have a direct connection, showing that you're engaged and proactive absolutely makes a difference.

6. Be Yourself

Finally, be authentic. Startups value authenticity and individuality. Don't try to fit into a mold or hide your uniqueness. Show your true self and let your personality shine through in your application and interview.


Startup are anxious to hire, they often hire based on skills more than experience and being different can be an asset. If you understand startup culture, highlight your unique value, demonstrate adaptability, showing initiative and passion, you can not only land a job at a startup, but thrive in it. Embrace your uniqueness and let it be your strength. After all, startups are all about disrupting the status quo and creating something new—and who better to do that than someone who embodies those qualities themselves?

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