How Do People Get Jobs at “Hot Startups”?

How Do People Get Jobs
How Do People Get Jobs

This is a question I get asked every week. There’s not a week without an email or a LinkedIn message from a person who’d like some career advice and an introduction to a “hot” startup that’s hiring.

Most of the folks I know, understand that their “large” company is not growing as fast and providing them opportunities as quickly as they’d hoped to grow.

I get one of 3 questions:

  1. Can you please introduce me to some “hot” startups? The people who work in bigger companies don’t want to take a lot of risk, so they mean “well funded” and “growing well” when they say “hot”.
  2. Can you suggest a few “fast growing” companies that I can join? Friends who work at smaller, lesser know and slower growing companies would like names of some good companies and hopefully an introduction there.
  3. Do you know anyone at a good startup that’s hiring?

These 3 questions are the hardest to answer.

The best suggestions I have had so far are for my friends to:

a) Look at AngelList jobs

b) Network with their previous colleagues and managers who know them well, so they can vouch for them


c) Work on their LinkedIn profile so their profiles shows up for the keywords that recruiters are searching for.

The real answer is that most “hot” startups get a lot more people interested in them than the people they can accept.

So, the bar is fairly high.

To join a hot startup, you need to

a) be referred, by someone in that company who can vouch for your quality

b) be recruited by a head hunter with a mandate to hire for that position quickly

c) get introduced by someone the hiring manager trusts and believes has a high bar for talent.

Most startups post about 70-80% of the jobs (anecdotal information) they are looking to fill.

Finding out the unlisted positions and the executive positions, you have to be an insider – either know the hiring manager or the someone in the senior leadership team.

So, the best advice I have is

  1. Make a list of companies by categories, such as SaaS, Cloud Infrastructure, etc. which you think will do well.
  2. Go to Angel List to find out if they are hiring. Apply there
  3. Then go to LinkedIn to find out who can connect you to the hiring manager
  4. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and your title, and keywords that a recruiter might enter while looking for candidates. The keywords need to be Buzzword compliant unfortunately, so make sure you say Growth Hacker, not Marketing Manager, etc. I know this is lame, but in talking with 4-5 of my recently hired colleagues, this matters a lot
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