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Build Your Career Get the Job

5 Skills That Will Get You Hired at a Startup

5 Skills That Will Get You Hired at a Startup
Credit: Rawpixel/Shutterstock

Many of today's job seekers, especially those of Generation Y, like the idea of working in a startup environment. They want to be more than just a cog in a corporate machine — they want to be a part of something where they can make a real difference and help the company grow.

But the startup life isn't for everyone: It takes a specific type of person with the necessary passion and skills to thrive in this setting. As the founder of peer-to-peer study materials marketplace Flashnotes.com, Mike Matousek has learned that first impressions are critical when it comes to startup hiring.

"My belief is that you have to go with your gut feeling," he told Business News Daily. "If the candidate didn't 'wow' you the first time around, the interviewee is probably not the best person for such a hands-on, passionate and fast-paced environment."

When applying for a job with a startup, you'll want to make sure that you put all your best assets on the table from the beginning. Matousek advised job candidates to show off these five traits and abilities during the interview. [Need a New Job? Tech Startups Are Hiring]

Multitasking. Startups almost never hire for a specific role. Your job will constantly be molded to fit the most urgent need of the company. If you're going to succeed in such a fast-paced environment where it's all hands on deck, you need to be able to switch gears quickly — and without complaint. 

Diligence. The questions you ask should show you are well researched on the company's latest news and knowledgeable of the industry. You'll also want to show interest in the company culture and their plans for growth, as startup founders want to know you're looking for more than just the cool office perks. 

Problem solving. With limited resources at a startup, there will not be anyone to hold your hand. Demonstrate that you can roll up your sleeves, solve problems, and think before you ask. Upper management will expect you to have the ability to think on your feet and improvise to solve anything thrown your way — a situation that Matousek said will happen more than you'd like. 

Social media savviness. In a world that's so heavenly influenced by social interaction, it's important to connect with the brand on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn before the interview. Always remember that the little things go a long way. Before you go in, check out the background of your interviewer to connect on a more personal level, and reach out to the brand afterwards to thank them for their time. 

Passion. If you're looking to work at a startup, you are probably not in it for the money. Show upper management that you're interviewing for the right reasons. This is their "heart and soul,"  Matousek said, and you need to show you're passionate enough about the idea to make sacrifices for the mission of the company.

Most important, startup candidates should show hiring managers that their desire to work for the company goes beyond wanting a job, Matousek said.

"[When interviewing,] I ask myself, is Flashnotes.com just another job on this candidate's list — or is it the one they are dying to receive an offer from?"

[Thinking about a career change that requires going back to school? Visit our partner site's "Classes and Careers" calculator to figure out which school and program is best for you.]

Originally published on Business News Daily

Nicole Fallon
Nicole Fallon

Nicole Fallon received her Bachelor's degree in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University. She began freelancing for Business News Daily in 2010 and joined the team as a staff writer three years later. She currently serves as the assistant editor. Reach her by email, or follow her on Twitter.

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