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: