startup life

How to Land a Job at a Hot Startup

This simple approach will have startup founders lining up to get you on their team.

[Note: this is a mirror of our cofounder Steve Dean’s existing post on Startup Grind]


Dear jobseekers, especially those of you who’ve never experienced the startup world before…

I want you to find an awesome job ASAP, and I don’t want you to waste your time getting there. What follows are 3 essential things you need to know, followed by 3 immediate actions you can take right now to land your next startup job.

Understanding the Founders

Fact 1: Startup founders are REAL PEOPLE

They go out drinking with their friends.
They get annoyed by people on the subway.
They watch cat videos.
They have routine panic attacks about whether their startup will burn through its cash this year.
And sometimes, they do all of these things before 8am.

Fact 2: Startup founders do ALL THE THINGS

They must constantly decide whether each thing is worth their time.
They ask themselves, “Will this result in 10–100x ROI?”
They must choose which of 500 new emails to open.
They hate emails that require over 15 seconds to read.
They hate emails that require over 15 seconds to answer.
Consequently, they love when things are short, insightful, and immediately actionable.

Fact 3: Startup founders are PASSIONATE

They work 100-hour weeks for no pay because they love what they do.
They spend their weekends teaching themselves new skills.
They frequently forgo sleep, meals, and friends in order to bring their vision to life.
They may be insane.
They may hold you to those same standards.

Building the Hiring Relationship

Now that you have a glimpse into startup founders’ passion and priority stacks, you can reverse engineer your path toward working with them.

Step 1: Become a Pro Stalker

Find the founder’s email.
Google them.
Tweet them when they’re most likely to respond.
Read their last 5 blog posts.
Read their company’s latest press.
Read their industry’s latest press.
Read about their top 5 competitors.
Check for mutual Facebook friends and LinkedIn contacts.
Find them on OkCupid.
For the love of god, get a personal introduction.

PROTIP: Use these five tools to help with stalking and introductions.

“If you want to be part of a startup environment, get yourself IN that environment. Integrate yourself into the social fabric. Learn to speak their language.” – Alessandro Gandini

Step 2: Master the Intro Email

Send an email directly to the founder. In it, you should:

Be specific & direct:
“This is how I learned about you / why my trajectory led me to you.”

Make it easy for them stalk you:
“I used to work at Dateworking (more deets on my LinkedIn) and my recent work with Jobsuitors got me thinking about your space.”

Provide immediate, tangible value: 
“This is my take on your industry and here’s an major opportunity I think you could totally [leverage my expertise to] capitalize on.”

Include a call to action: 
“I’m obsessed with what you’re doing and I’d like to do XYZ to help. Let’s talk ASAP. My number is (xxx) xxx-xxxx. Are you free Friday at 4?”

Keep it short: 
Reread you email. Could you get through it in under 30 seconds? As a rule of thumb, it should fit on a single smartphone screen with no scrolling.

PROTIP: Read Mattan Griffel’s more in-depth piece, How to Get a Busy Person to Respond to Your Emails

“Our two interns hustled their way into jobs via thoughtful, spirited emails that pinpointed a specific thing we could improve at and how they could help. We’ve never posted internships — those emails were the only way we found them!” ~ Derek Flanchraich, CEO, Greatist

Step 3: Learn the Art of the Followup

Even the best emails can get buried or lost. Maybe the founder is off traveling. Maybe they read your message while walking out of the subway, were totally floored, but then got into the office and discovered that their servers were down and had to spend the next 2 days in a shitstorm. These things happen.

Here’s what to do:
Send a followup after 2–3 days.
Follow up again in a week, or whenever you think you can add additional value to what they’re working on.
Publish to your networks on their behalf.
Hell, create a website dedicated to driving them customers. They won’t forget it.
Once you become invested in their story, it won’t be long before they invest in you.

“After applying to VaynerMedia, I created a YouTube video in their style and ran Twitter ads to it that said, “Working at VaynerMedia? Take a break and check out this video.” I targeted people who followed the company’s twitter account, and I got about 50 employees to watch it and reach out to me. The hiring manager called me in for an interview over Twitter after seeing the video.” Gregg Clunis


What We’ve Learned

At the end of the day, people are people, but startup founders in particular are very busy people. To gain access to their time and attention, you simply need to a) get on their radar and b) deliver enough value for them to justify risk of working with you.

At that point, getting hired will merely depend on whether they’re actually hiring for a role that fits your current availability and skill set. If they’re not, then it never hurts to ask them for a referral to a similar company that could benefit from your passion & skills!

Now go forth and get hired!

*Special thanks to Alessandro Gandini, Ph.D, Middlesex University (Media) & Centre for Digital Ethnography, University of Milan, for his insights into how this approach applies across state and national borders.


About the Author…

Steve Dean is the co-founder of, and his mission is to give millions of jobseekers the opportunity to get matched directly to jobs that fit their unique lives & circumstances rather than having to rely upon prefabricated career paths and an opaque network of outdated job boards. Steve envisions a future where job hunting is instantaneous, transparent, and 100% personalized.

Related Reading…

• The Secret Tools of Superconnectors
The Power of a Personal Connection
The Friendship-First Approach to Dating


secret tools of superconnectors

The Secret Tools of Superconnectors

Introducing the Apps That Give Superconnectors an Unfair Advantage in Networking

[Note: this is a mirror of our cofounder Steve Dean’s existing post on Startup Grind]

Networking is hard, yet some people seem to have an infinite capacity to remember details about people and connect them almost effortlessly. We can spot these superconnectors because they’re always the ones saying, “Oh, I know that guy. Want me to introduce you?”

We tend to think that superconnectors are born with extreme extroversion and a photographic memory, but that’s not true. In practice, all it really takes is the right technology. Superconnectors do not have secret powers — they just have a set of really awesome apps. While some of us are still googling around, starring emails, and forgetting names, superconnectors are blowing past us by relying on apps that transform introductions and followups into a cakewalk.

I wanted to become a superconnector, so a few years ago I began researching the best apps to optimize every major step of the connecting process. These five steps are research, outreach, scheduling, meeting, and followups. Below, I present to you the top 10 apps that superconnectors use to forge connections anywhere, anytime, with anyone.

I call it the Superconnector’s Stack.


Superconnectors always trust that they’ll be able to get in touch with the people they want. After all, the tech to do that is already available to all of us. A little patience and creativity go a long way.

Goal: Discover more about the people you want to connect with.


Superconnectors used to use Rapportive for Gmail until LinkedIn bought it and shut off most of its functionality. Now, they turn to apps like Connectifier to reveal all the contact information and social links of the people they want to reach.



Goal: Find out who to get an intro from.


When you want to get an introduction to someone outside your network, Conspire determines who in your network knows them best and could make the strongest intro.




The more popular/reputable your desired contact is, the more likely they are to have upwards of 50–100 emails per day. You’ll need to make it incredibly easy for your email to stand out and for your recipient to respond. If they don’t use email, it’s very likely they’ve got other apps for direct communication right on their phones’ home screens. You would be surprised by the efficacy of sending a well-timed, relevant tweet, or leaving an engaging photo comment on Instagram.

Goal: Learn what to say in an email.


Crystal assesses all the publicly-available information about someone in order to understand exactly what types of messages/content they’re most likely to respond to. Crystal even tells you how to structure your messages, and what words/phrases to avoid using.



Goal: Ensure a fast response.

Five Sentences

Five Sentences is nothing more than a simple guide for keeping your messages concise and full of immediate calls to action. You’ll kick yourself for not discovering this approach sooner.


Five Sentences


When you’re meeting up with multiple people in a day or week, scheduling can quickly become a nightmare. Many people avoid socializing for this very reason. Luckily, there are some apps that render this entire process effortless.

Goal: Schedule your first chat.

Tools:, ScheduleOnce, Calendly, X.AI, Clara Labs

Insights: works directly within Gmail and lets you quickly give your recipient options for times to meet up based on your calendar availability.

ScheduleOnce and Calendly offer customized URLs you can send to people for booking times on your calendar.

X.AI and Clara Labs are two of the top virtual scheduling assistants, and they actually respond to your recipients to set up meetings in a way that feels like it’s coming from a real person. They can even update your calendar and notify you in realtime to handle any last minute scheduling updates.







Clara Labs


Goal: Decide where to chat.

AppearIn, WorkFrom

AppearIn is a 1-click browser-based video conference and is by far the fastest possible way to begin video chatting with anyone. No installations, no logins.

WorkFrom is a nifty resource for finding out which coffee shops in your city are ideal for coworking and/or quick meetups.


Appear In





Obviously, when you’re meeting someone face to face or over live video, your interpersonal dynamic will become quite important. While apps can’t necessarily help you on that front (yet), there are still a few apps that will be prove useful here.

Goal: Decide what to say when you meet.

Charlie, Humin

Humin and Charlie give you detailed personal insights into the people you’re about to meet. Whether it’s their recent posts and live events, or your recent mutual touch points, these apps help keep your memory fresh when you go into meetings.





Goal: Take rapid notes from your meeting.


Wunderlist is an incredibly powerful list-making app, and can prove indispensable when you need to rapidly jot down who said what as well as what your next steps should be.




Followups are the typically the most dreaded and oft-forgotten part of the connecting process, but they don’t have to be. These last few tools are game-changers and will give you an unfair advantage.

Goal: Know when to followup.

Boomerang for Gmail

Boomerang is quite indispensable. Whenever you send an email, Boomerang lets you schedule a time when that email should be sent back to the top of your inbox as a reminder to follow up on that thread.


Boomerang for Gmail


Goal: Manage your connections.

Streak for Gmail, FullContact

Streak is simply an instant CRM for your inbox. It lets you create a pipeline of all your connections, followups, and results so that you never miss a single detail.

FullContact is a nifty way of aggregating all of your contacts’ social and professional data into contact cards so that you don’t have to go hunting down additional contact details when you’re ready to follow up or connect across other social fora.


Streak for Gmail




About the Author…

Steve Dean is the co-founder of, and his mission is to give millions of jobseekers the opportunity to get matched directly to jobs that fit their unique lives & circumstances rather than having to rely upon prefabricated career paths and an opaque network of outdated job boards. Steve envisions a future where job hunting is instantaneous, transparent, and 100% personalized.

Related Reading…

• How to Land a Job at a Hot Startup
The Power of a Personal Connection
The Friendship-First Approach to Dating

Jobsuitors Cofounder Steve Dean Speaks About the Future of Hiring

Brooklyn View

Fun update! This past week, Brooklyn featured our cofounder Steve Dean in a podcast about the future of hiring and job hunting. (The feature starts at ~9:07)

This is big. We’re bringing transparency to the job hunt in a way that’s never been done before. We’re like that friend at a party who always knows who you’d most enjoy meeting, and steers you away from the people who would be a waste of your time.

Ultimately, our goal is to help people find the things they care about most. Employers want to find trustworthy and capable candidates who can help propel the organization forward. Jobseekers want to find opportunities that provide for their needs, keep them excited, and challenge them to grow. At Jobsuitors, we listen to the needs that both sides reveal to us, and our system then matches jobseekers with employers based on who’s most compatible.

Want to give this new approach a try? Come in, make your very own profile, and from there, we do all the work of matching you up. Ready for the fun?
See you on the other side,
The Jobsuitors Team

PS – (Here’s the podcast link:

The Power of a Personal Connection

Unsplash high five

Having a wide network works wonders for job hunting. Imagine how much easier your life becomes when, instead of submitting a random resume and cover letter to the Microsoft careers site, you can instead do a Facebook graph search for “friends of my friends who work at Microsoft” and voilà — all you need to do is send a quick Facebook message requesting a personal warm introduction, and within minutes you can find yourself chatting directly with the hiring manager.

In sending that message, you just went from being a single resume among thousands in a database to suddenly being directly connected to the person who will ultimately invite you into the company. Better yet, if you have connections within the company who can explicitly vouch for you, they can actively petition the hiring managers to bring you onto the team. Life gets so much easier when you have champions for your cause within the office!

Why is connectedness so important?

Why is connectedness on LinkedIn and Facebook such a critical tactic for job hunting success? It all comes down to evolutionary psychology and humans’ implicit ingroup/outgroup biases. If someone sees that they’re connected to you via someone they know, they’re going to be far more likely to trust you, and they’ll subsequently give you more attention than they’d give to someone who lacks that common bond.

Let’s look at a practical example. As a job matchmaker who helps people get connected to work they’re passionate about, when I see that a new jobseeker and I have mutual friends, I immediately know that I can send any of those friends a 5-second text message asking them if you’re legit. If you and I didn’t have mutual connections, I’d have to scour the internet and make random cold calls in search of some way to validate who you are.

Connections are valuable

Employers and recruiters are very sensitive to any factors that make their lives easier and their searches more effective. Getting a referral makes you 300–400% more likely to get hired. Mutual connections are truly golden.

Every single connection you add on Linkedin or Facebook lets you immediately benefit from all of that person’s existing connections. Seeing mutual friends makes us feel safe. Online dating has already proven this a thousand times over — just look how much easier it is to get a Tinder date when you have friends in common! Obviously, though, the quality of the connections you make is important. If your connections can’t personally vouch for you, then they become less helpful, but even if they don’t know you well, you’ll still benefit from the initial feelings of security and validation that employers and recruiters will feel upon merely spotting the common connection.

Next steps…

  1. Connect with us on Facebook or Twitter (obviously ☺)
  2. If you actually are job hunting right now, we just launched our beta product for connecting you directly to employers based on your mutual compatibility. It’s modeled after the speed and precision of online dating sites, and it reduces the application process down to a single click. Go forth and find the work you love!

See the Team at Work

Phew! The past several months have been some of the most intense ones our team has ever seen. At the time of our last blog post, Jobsuitors was more idea than reality. We knew that we wanted to build a platform for matching jobseekers and employers, and we had a clear sense of what features we wanted to include (match percentages, personality and preference filters, etc.). However, all the features we envisioned were nothing more than scrawlings on paper and whiteboards.


This was actually our very first scribble :)


Well, that’s all changed, now. During the summer, we flew our awesome designer friend Irene Tran out to NYC to help us bring Jobsuitors to life.


After taking one look at Steve’s preliminary (and truly inspired) designs, Irene confirmed that her help was very much needed.


True to form, Irene came in and totally schooled us on design and UI/UX principles. In a few short weeks, Irene took Jobsuitors from this:

candidate_profile2 this!


After Irene saved the day with her designs, we eagerly moved into development! But by the end of summer, our leases ran out in New York City, so we opted to explore new territory out west and decide whether Seattle could trump NYC as an ideal launch city. Our first item on the Seattle agenda was to fashion the apartment into a functional coworking space.




Next, we set to work on development and internal bug fixing!


By late September, we were, at long last, ready to launch the alpha version of our jobseeker portal. And launch it we did!


All you jobseekers should go see it for yourselves! Register and claim your own unique jobseeker URL here: Are you as excited as we get during our weekly Google Hangouts?


What’s next? EMPLOYER PORTALS! We’re finishing up alpha development for our employer portal which will allow all our eager employer alpha testers to finally get in, post their jobs, and start browsing through the top applicants that our algorithm can serve up!

What’s after that? I don’t quite know, but I sure hope it involves more impromptu coworking slumber parties.


Wait, are you actually still reading this!? Stop it! Go over to and sign up! =D

A Love Letter to Employers

Dear all employers, recruiters, and HR personnel,

It’s clear you still haven’t found your one true love – that one recruiting service that will be steadfast by your side for the rest of your life. We admired your calm patience as you suffered through your past relationships with the likes of that insufferable Idealist, and worse, the Monster. We had a glimmer of hope when you experimented with hip new providers like the Resumator and Taleo. But our sadness became all the greater when those relationships, too, proved mismatched and ill-fated.

We held out hope that you would one day find true love. But we are tired of waiting. We want you to be happy and fulfilled, and we want it now. Will you give us that opportunity?

Think of what we could do…together:

Together, we can escape that terrible pile of resumes flooding your desk and inbox. Together, we will never again sift through under-qualified candidates. Together, we can end the struggle to find good talent. Your past providers simply weren’t cut out for helping you through this. They could scarcely see the problems you’ve been facing:

  • Your applicants fail to even meet basic qualifications. More than 80% of you admitted that the majority of your applicants weren’t qualified.1
  • Hiring is really hard. In 2011, employers’ difficulty filling positions in the US went up 38%.2
  • You lose precious time and money in the process. Every lost employee costs you, both in workplace morale and in lost productivity. Even a minimum wage employee can cost you upwards of $3500 in turnover expenses.3

These problems are evidence of a broken system. A system we both have come to despise. But why accept the status quo? Let’s rebuild it from the ground up! Let Jobsuitors enter your life, and you will never be on your own again.

Our greatest vow is to make the hiring process so easy, so fast, and so effective that you wonder how you could have ever lived without us. How can we deliver on this promise?

noun_project_4953For one, we value honesty and open communication. As such, we’ll provide you every bit of information we can about your candidates. You’ll gain direct access to their social and professional networks, their personalities, their verifiable skills, and their real career and personal interests.

noun_project_9452We also value compatibility. We are fueled by a painstakingly crafted matching engine that connects you based on the all factors you determine to be most valuable.


Oh, and trust us, our search filter will leave you weak at the knees. Fast, intuitive, and infinitely customizable, it will make you wonder how in the world your past providers could have so devastatingly underperformed.


Lastly, we are responsive. Our entire product is designed to cater to your every whim. Let’s say you’re the take-charge type who likes to personally narrow-in on the best candidates without our algorithm’s help? Perfect. Filter by location? Easy. Filter by past employees of your competitor? Most definitely. Filter through your own company’s internal ranks to see whom you might have overlooked? Without a doubt. We’ve got you covered.

We at Jobsuitors hereby promise to be forever faithful to you. And we’re confident that we’ll be the most compatible partner you’ve ever had.

Sincerely yours,

  1. “Building Critical Talent Pipelines.” Taleo. 2010. (Survey by the Corporate Executive Board of company recruiters.)
  2. “Talent Shortage 2011 Survey Results.” Manpower Group. 2011.
  3. “How Expensive Is Turnover?” EmployInsight. 11 Aug. 2011.

Finding the One That Fits

We built Jobsuitors with our friends in mind. We saw them agonizing over their resumes and sending out endless cover letters. They punched their information into dime-a-dozen internet resume sites that mass-emailed it to random companies – ignoring their specialized skills, their social networks, and their preferences. So much time is wasted without producing good results. We thought there had to be a better way.

Jobsuitors takes the job search and turns it on its head. We have painstakingly (and lovingly) set up a comprehensive system that matches jobseekers to employers. Jobseekers finally have one platform where they can input all of their information, find jobs that they actually want, and effortlessly apply. Meanwhile, employers can automate the process of posting positions, filtering through candidates, and vetting them. Both jobseekers and employers can pick multiple factors in our innovative search engine and weigh how much each one matters to them.

So you want a job where you can code while drinking a beer? You got it. Want to work in a competitive environment on Wall Street and still get paid maternity leave? Done. Want an employee who’ll figure out the company’s next big idea and beat everyone at foosball? We’ve got you covered.

We believe that the job search doesn’t have to be miserable. That hidden underneath all of the bureaucracy and red tape, there’s excitement to be had – the thrill of discovery. We believe in a process that’s more efficient, more effective, and more fun.

The time has come, friends. Let’s find you the one that fits.

See you on the other side,
The Jobsuitors Team