So you want to work for a Web Startup?

Note: this is a little rant I had laying around for a while.

Or are you the one doing the hiring of Tech talent for your startup? Here are some hinters on how I imagine some of the startups think. This is just coming from my experience, common sense and some collected thoughts – so please supply your own experiences in the comments.

The Long Tail of Candidates

For a startup it can be a matter of life and death to find the right hire. Think of it as getting a co-founder, it will be a very significant factor in the direction of your young little company. Also not unimportant, software developers vary incredibly in productivity. Some programmer’s are literally 10 to 100 times more productive than others. With productive I mean producing the actual value, not assembly-line lines of code. Smart developers help the product/service in many ways apart from implementing code.

Even though there is a shortage of tech-workers in many developing countries, there is definitely an infinite supply of smart people. Some of these people already might have some engagements, some might not. In general the former case is a lot more attractive.

Resume 2.0

If you supply a resume, make it one without the bullshit. Nobody is waiting to hear your undying loyalty to the company. Dare to make your resume creative and human, or get assimilated in the big blue collective. Also, most of the boring stuff can be found on your LinkedIn profile right?

More importantly, make sure that you always supply a link to an entry-point in your digital life. Your name WILL be googled and not more than 10 seconds will be spent to find out some sort of online presence. So make sure you line up your digital life. You are engaging people that live and breath (web) technology, if you don’t have a web presence, you’re out.

Actually, I’ve had many times myself that companies took note of me especially because of my blog. A blog serves as a big searchable backlog of results. It can be used to evaluate competence and will also be used to measure overlapping interests and mindsets. If you’re worried about separating out your personal life and professional life in this area, don’t bother engaging startups.

In essence, your chances diminish significantly without tangible published results.

3 Second Rule

Like when you try to engage a hot chick, the first 3 seconds really matter. The devil is in the details:

  • originating applicants go straight to the trashcan for obvious reasons
  • Always send a PDF file. Most startups work with Macs and PDF is well accepted on all platforms, even the iPhone. Don’t send a .doc file you moron!
  • If you sent a text-only version of your resume, you better have some awesome ASCII-art in there.

Be yourself, Be a dick!

” I am the sikest internets programmer in the galaxy m8! I think you’se should give me the job now eh!”

It’s always more likely you will get the correct response if you are yourself.(Even if it is not the one you are expecting)
People like to know who they are dealing with and it is inevitable that they will find you out before too long.
Don’t be shy! it is better if you show a bit of your personality. That’s what makes you you, and also what makes you stand out from others.