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RodinStar / Startup

Tips to get hired by start-ups

We at have been looking for passionate and talented people to join our start-up. We got some amazing profiles, some from premium institutes, some from not so premium, but that’s not we are looking for. We are looking for PASSION + TALENT, a very potent combination that I believe can help change our destiny. Then there are things that we learnt from the people who applied and thought of putting across what “I” think, start-ups are looking for and what you should do before you apply for a job with us.

Things to do before you apply to a start-up

You should remember that most start-ups have limited time. So spend time in understanding what they do. If the start-up is not in a stealth mode then they would have blogs/ media stories, go through them understand them and then apply. Don’t blindly apply to a start-up because you woke up one morning and wanted to work for a start-up (Yes, we did receive profiles from people who said they wanted to work for a start-up because its cool and they randomly applied to start-ups)

Be clear on

  • WHY do you want to join a start-up. Most early stage start-ups would ask you that and if your answer is for the experience of it … it’s not a good start.
  • WHAT do you know about the start-up. Why do you want to join THIS start-up? Lot of people blindly apply without knowing what the start-up does. I used to explain to people that it doesn’t give a good impression, then I realized that lot of the people who apply are just shooting in the dark and not serious candidates. These candidates don’t get more than 2 minutes of my time. So if you want to sound and look serious, spend considerable time understanding what the start-up does, who are the competitors, what do you think the start-up can do. Read articles, blogs, media articles, talk to current employees.
  • WHAT is your expectation from a start-up, salary is one part of it, is it learning new technology, working with smaller teams or creating something amazing.
  • TRY – If the product is out in the public, TRY it out. We got few people who gave excuses on why they didn’t get the time to try out the product. The time they took to give the excuse would have been enough to go through the product. It paints a very poor picture reflecting that you don’t care about the product or the company. All start-ups crave user feedback, why not start by being one.
  • FOLLOW what has been stated – We posted the job description in various forums and the way to reach out to us. Roughly 75% people didn’t follow the simple step to apply. Most of them posted on the forum. We rejected most of them as we realized that if that person can’t follow these steps, it would be rather difficult to manage the person later on.
  • WHAT makes you different. Start-ups are very selective. They want to hire the “right-fit” person who will solve the problem that they have on hand. So what do you do to prove that you are the “right-fit”.

Are you the right fit for a start-up

There are lot of ways you can prove that you are the ‘right-fit’ for the start-up.

  • Resume’s are passe, though some still ask for it. We received a resume which was 16 pages long from a person who had 15 years experience. It was like one page dedicated to each year, I lost interest after 2 pages and moved on. If you have to send in your resume and the start-up asked for it keep it to max 2 pages. Your resume should be exciting enough for the company to call you for the next step.
  • Keep your LinkedIn profile updated. Lot of people don’t have recent photographs or details on LinkedIn. Update the same.
  • Make sure your LinkedIn profile has your picture and not that of a flower or the car you like. You want to look professional.
  • If you are technical geek get your Github profile updated
  • Opensource contributor is considered a plus by most start-ups
  • Learn about the company. To give you an example when a person applied to Relatas he created his account on Relatas and tried out all the features, pointed few difficulties he faced and suggested alternatives. He sent me a meeting request directly from Relatas to prove that he knows what he was doing and interested in the product. He was proactive. And that’s exactly what a start-up wants. Proactive people who don’t need to be spoon-fed.
  • Another way would be to get your hands dirty. Create a plug-in or a add on feature to the existing product and show it to the company. It shows pro-activeness, shows your technical skills and shows you know the business or at least tried. It shows commitment, technical prowess and thinking out of the box.
  • Create a video resume – Shows your communication skills and confidence. Keep it short max a minute. You only want to excite the viewer to call you for an actual interview.

I got to speak with some really ‘experienced’ people who want to join a start-up, but on questioning some of them I realized that their search for a start-up had a completely different connotation. Some wanted to join us to experience what the start-up world looks like after spending about 20+ years in the corporate life.

I was happy that they were interested but the caveat was that they were not willing to give up what they “want” for their “needs”. Their need was to experience start-ups space and their “want” was 20%+ what a Fortune 500 was paying them. One experience with one such gentleman who said that he has a lifestyle which he wants to maintain for which he wants 20% above what his current “Fortune 500” company was currently paying. My response, we like what you have done in the past but Relatas is

  • Selected by Google Launchpad (Only 20 start-ups got selected into Google Launchpad from India)
  • We are the current runners-up at Google Launchpad
  • Selected into the current Batch of Start-up Chile (Only 8 companies from India got selected)
  • TechSparks Tech30 company
  • Won the Hot100 award (Selected by CIO’s in India)

and, if you like our story and where we are heading, you are welcome to join the rocket-ship. But that was just an exception.

Thank You to all those who applied. It’s really humbling to see such great talent looking to work with the Relatas team and be part of something great. If you are interested, here are few openings with us:

Relatas is the new way to build better professional Relationships. Have you blocked your unique Relatas identity –

If you wish to know more about us mail us at or try Relatas or schedule a time with me at . I would love to hear your thoughts in comments here or @relatas_

This is a re-post of my LinkedIn Post



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  1. hey sudip


    your points like TRY, FOLLOW, WHAT are bang on. startups usually are lean, so one needs to identify how he/she is different/unique/and one heckuva value add!

    your ‘learn about the company’ example rocks. getting your hands dirty is another brilliant “apply to startup hack!’.

    and a video resume is brilliant!

    a lot of folks (especially for creative/content openings) give a task. that usually helps in gauging how good and serious the applicant is. and it weeds out the “timepass” folks.

    great article. will look fwd to more of your shares! 

  2. Thanks Asha. Few pains of start-up hiring 🙂

  3. sudip,

    i just had to spoil the bottom of your post!!!

  4. I noticed what you did here.

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