What Startups Really Look for in Employees

Do you think you already have everything to be a part of most startups? Think again. Some startups don’t really need someone who got their master degree. Some other startups even don’t have enough money to hire someone who are very experienced or amazing skillset.

Clearly, startups are not corporates. Those young companies want something different than that. Your brilliant resume might not matter that much. No wonder, some startups often hire people with very little work experience (and eventually let them to have important positions). With those kind of fact, we still can say that startups are avoiding to hire the wrong people.

Confused? Don’t. Here are a few things that startups really are looking for in employees:

  1. Hunger

No so-so day job at any startup. Startups want someone who strive to help the company move forward. Usually, startup founders are hungry for success. Thus, they would like to have an employee who share the same hunger, typical go-getter.

People at a startup are willing to go extra mile. They excel easily, since they care about what they do. Not only do they understand the goals and vision at the startup they are working for, but are also proactive in actualising it. If you show passion and excitement when you are applying for a startup, the founders will notice it.

How to show your hunger even before you’re working for them? Show them some of your initiatives. It will get them the idea that you like creating something from scratch. You don’t need to make a startup just like them. A blog, a networking group, an app, a personal website, or an ebook can do.

Also, tell them about the struggle you’ve experienced by making something. Past mistakes or failure is still valuable, and it gives you a positive note. Those kind of stories will impress any startup founders, since they feel that you have the hunger they are looking for.

  1. Adaptability

Startups have such a small team with big responsibility. The people should support each other, or are at least on the same page. Most startup founders pay huge attention on this. They want the new addition in their team to fit in easily. This small thing matters to bring the company success. With that in mind, most startups are looking for open-minded and willing to step outside of their comfort zones employees.

Moreover, working at a startup means you will do something which will not be in your job description. Someone who would take on responsibilities outside their core tasks. Startup founders evaluate the job candidates adaptability on this dynamic business environment (which we can say is utterly different than corporates).

How can you show them that you will easily fit in? Do some research about their company culture. Talk to someone who works there, if you know one. Tell the findings of the job interview. The same interest would make you as the stand-out candidate.

  1. Humility

Early startup days are far from luxurious. Even Facebook, Google, and Apple started from humble beginnings by working from someone’s garage or dorm room. Startups need someone who would leave their sense of entitlement, and it requires extreme humility.

How are you going to show them that you have those kind of humility? You can tell them about your hard days and weaknesses. It sends the signal for the startup founders that you are ready to be part of their early miserable days.


Well, do you think you have those kind of qualities?


Next read: How Working at a Startup Can Accelerate Your Career

Article contributed by Startup Jobs Asia‘s Team.

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