How To Get Hired At A Tech Startup

So you want to get hired at a tech startup? Good news! We’ve got some tips to help you get the job.

Appreciation Engine is based in Victoria, BC, where tech is actually the largest contributor to the local economy. The tech community here is very diverse, with companies in everything from payroll software to mobile gaming apps. There is really something for everyone here.

Whether you are based in Canada, the US or elsewhere, tech often represents a large part of economic activity. Globally, the tech industry is growing steadily and estimated to reach $5 trillion this year! And while there is a lot of opportunity, job hunting can still be the same stressful and disappointing ordeal.

Rather than giving you a list of skills and experience that you should have, the following tips focus on soft skills. We believe that people-fit is hugely important and the following tips reflect that. Keep reading to hear the AE team’s top job hunting tips!

How to Get Hired at a Tech Startup:

#1: Do Your Homework

Grant Spychka, Head of Customer Success:

Almost any startup is going to have a world of knowledge available about them online, be it their website, on their social media profile, or in articles written about them. Read through everything you can find and take notes. Build questions around those notes. Know their history, why they exist, and who they are as people. This gives you a strong foundation going into an interview (or even a casual coffee – highly recommended if possible) and shows them that you’re actually interested and want to grow with them.

 

#2: Think Non-Digital

Annabel Youens, CMO and Co-founder:

One of my favorite hires happened when I was sent a hand-made card in the mail along with a lovely letter. This started an email conversation and eventually, Laura joined my team.

Everyone sends an email with a well-formatted resume and cover letter. Make yourself stand out and show how you’re unique. Tech startups hire people first. Show them who you are.

 

#3: Look Beyond The Job Title

Jason Scriven, Head of Enterprise Sales:

A more experienced person coming from a bigger company or a more established industry might be put off by the lack of structure and unfamiliar titles that are common in the startup environment. Instead, focus on the work that needs doing, the culture within the company, and the opportunity for growth.

 

#4: Network & Network Some More

Jennifer Paul, Intermediate Developer:

Get out there and meet people. For tech, a big way to get ahead is to use your people resources. There are always tons of events around town, whether it is professional networking, skills workshops, or just get-togethers for beers. The pressure is off since it’s not an interview, so just get out there and enjoy yourself. You’ll make some great acquaintances in the meantime, and others will keep you in mind when they see job postings (and often even before a job is posted – word-of-mouth is great!).

 

#5: Personality Counts

Mike Penhall, Senior Developer:

Personality counts a lot in a startup as you’re going to be working closely with your team and it’s important that you all get along. Obviously skills are equally important, but if you’re going to be part of a small team you’re all going to need to work harmoniously. So be yourself, mention and discuss some things that interest you and make sure that you are a good fit for the company. It’s just as important for you as it is for the employer.

 

#6: Know What You Want

Odette Jacquet, Precision Marketer:

How many times have you applied for a job only to re-read the posting a few days later and realize that you aren’t as stoked on it as you thought? I’ve even applied for jobs and hoped that they didn’t get back to me!

I know it can be tempting to spread your resume like pollen in the wind. But I promise that only applying for jobs that are a (close-to) perfect fit will yield better results (and save you a lot of wasted effort). Think about the skills you want to develop and what your career goals are long term.

Well, the rest is up to you! Best of luck on your hunt and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.

Odette Jacquet

About Odette Jacquet

I'm AE's jack-of-all-trades marketer! I'm a part of everything from social media to analytics to sales. My passions include videography, the arts, and growing food.