What Hires are Startup Founder Looking For?

From our previous post, we know that startup job is not for everyone. However, startups are offering millions of jobs each year. But founders are only looking for someone who will best complement to their rising startups.

Turns out, a startup founder also has their own criteria for any employee they hire. Yes, it’s not just about skill and experience, too. Some founders have certain traits for their next hire. Thus, jobseekers should know it, since many startup founders seem far more interested in traits than skills.

Let’s hear what they are actually looking for:

  1. Curiosity

Sean Naegeli, COO of Splashscore, said that he’s looking for curious hustlers to join his growing team. He needs people who are hungry to learn, find new ways to innovate, and always execute.

Liz Asai, CEO of 3Derm, also has the same point of view. “Really interesting candidates crave more responsibility, and are willing to drop whatever they’re doing to learn something new,” Asai’s opinion.

  1. Confidence

Sean Marszalek of SDC Nutrition, Inc. are putting confidence as priorities. When a candidate shows confidence throughout the interview process, he believes that he/she is demonstrating success and great energy. “Employers look for a tenacity and confidence in a prospect because they will bring that mentality to the workplace,” claim Marszalek.

  1. Initiative

Nanxi Liu of Enplug once said, “Our highest achieving teammates are those who have a history of taking initiative and doing projects on their own,”. A jobseeker who shares the project(s) they built and implemented on their own is obviously prominent. It demonstrates their ability to be creative, independent, and action-oriented.

Startups always need independent people, since there might be nobody who will constantly manage every single employees. As Timo Kauppila, CEO of Catchbox, states, “The best employees are independent, and don’t need constant monitoring.”

Thus, people who have shown important initiatives in the past are huge assets.

  1. Passion and motivation

Niari Keverian, CEO of ZOOS Greek Iced Tea, mentioned that his employees should believe in the startup and its mission. That’s the number one requirement, so that each person on his team could be ready to hit the ground running and learn as they go. “Take direction and guidance, and make it your own,” Keverian’s word.

  1. Audacity

Ryin Bradley of Grapevine Logic are not afraid to hire people who are smarter and edgier than his team. “We look for proven risk-takers amped up to experiment, and have their feet held to the fire,” claim Bradley. He believes leaders aren’t just born, they’re also made. His startup is aiming to make a team full of leaders.

  1. Cultural fit and sense of humor

Kevin Xu of Mebo International believes that every startup worker needs to be able to quickly adapt to the working environment and company culture of the startup they get to work for.

While Ken Deckinger, CEO of Jess, Meet Ken, thinks that skills are given. Thus, his startup prefer to hire for culture first and foremost. “People we bring onboard need to not only think my bad jokes are funny, but also be able to tell a joke that’s worse than mine. Do that, and you’re part of the team,” claim Deckinger.

  1. Networking skills

“At a small startup, making the right hiring decision is critical. I always reach out to my fellow founders and connections on LinkedIn before making any hiring decisions,” Mitch Gordon of Go Overseas tells.

Any candidates who happen to know Gordon’s acquaintances or friends will get bigger odds to join his team. “The moral? Be purposeful about networking!” express Gordon.


If you really want to get a startup job, don’t underestimate the traits that you’re reading above. Those qualities might ensure your path to be part of startup world.

Next read: Hired at Startup Before You Know It!

Article contributed by Startup Jobs Asia‘s Team.

Follow Startup Jobs Asia at:

Facebook  |  Twitter  | Google+  | Linkedin  | YouTube |  Pinterest