Stand Out to a Start Up: 4 Qualities Tech Startups Want in a New Hire

Being at the core of a growing tech company can be exhilarating, surrounded by the buzz of innovation, and celebrating each milestone. It’s not all ping pong and staff drinks; there are obvious risks that come with joining a company in its early days.

If you are passionate about the industry and want to stand out to an employer, here are 4 must-have qualities that you need to demonstrate to secure your dream startup role.


You can learn many skills on the job, but you can’t learn passion. If you read the job ad and don’t feel the excitement, then it’s not the job for you. Startups want to see passion with direction. You need to have enough drive to offset the challenges that you may come up against.

Do your research. Enter your interview with a stellar background knowledge of the startup and be ready to discuss their current and future market. Insert yourself into their narrative and show how you will help them on the path to success. A little bit of enthusiasm can go a long way.

Good culture is so important in a startup, and they will be looking to hire a team that share the same values and goals. Make it clear that your goals align with the aspirations and mission of the company. Employers are looking to find that growth mindset.


On a scaled-back budget, out-of-the-box thinking is celebrated and if you can come up with creative solutions to overcome challenges in the early days of the company then you will fit in.

The nature of a startup encourages idea sharing, a space where everyone can bounce their ideas off each other and work to meet milestones together. In fact, 51% of scaleups look for service orientation skills in a new hire, meaning you can understand and anticipate the needs of others and recognise the importance of collaborative work.

It is important that you can bring your ideas to a group setting and collaborate with other members of the team and take criticism on board.

Have you got any examples of how you have creatively solved problems in the past? Use the STAR method (situation, task, approach, result) to demonstrate to the interviewer how you have approached and solved a specific problem before. Show an interviewer a portfolio and be ready to discuss examples of your work.

You need to show initiative. In the early days of a company there is a lot to be done and not a lot of people to do it. If you can’t do your job without relying on others, then you aren’t going to last long. That isn’t to say you should go ahead and make big decisions without consulting anyone, or worse making bad decisions because you didn’t ask for help when you needed it.


For many prospective employees the unpredictable nature of a startup is the allure, working across many different jobs and developing new skills. If you thrive in a structured working environment and dislike the ambiguity surrounding trial and error, then a startup isn’t for you.

Plans will likely change as the company grows, you will need to have the ability to drop what you were doing and be ready to refocus your attention. It is important to look at how you act in these situations, approaching change with a calm, level-headed attitude is vital to maintaining good culture in the team.

It can be hard to get across in an interview setting how you react under pressure, but one way to help an employer understand how you work is to discuss the results of any personality trait questionnaires you have undertaken. Understanding how you learn and work best is an attractive trait to an employer.

Nobody can prepare for everything, but it is helpful to know and plan for potential risks early on in a project. This way, when things don’t go to plan, you are not completely caught off guard and you can pick yourself up and move in a new direction.

Willingness to Learn

Knowing your weaknesses is a strength and taking responsibility for your actions is vital. Not all your decisions will turn out in the way you hoped, it is important to learn from these mistakes, so they don’t get repeated.

An employer wants you to keep ahead of tech trends and be excited about learning new skills. Having varied experiences is inevitable but having a basic understanding and a willingness to learn is key to being able to keep up with the workload. If you are proficient in a variety of skills it can save outsourcing costs in the startup stage.

You can demonstrate your willingness to learn by actively going out of your way to learn new skills. Do your own research outside of the job, research the industry and sign up for newsletters. Set goals for yourself and work to meet them. This not only demonstrates a willingness to learn, but also hammers home that growth mindset that employers are after.

Although it is important to have personal goals, sometimes you need to put the business goals first. If hiring is done right these goals should be intertwined, but in the case where there is a gap, you must have the courage to put your own goals on the backburner. What’s good for the business is good for everyone.

Finding a job can be hard, finding the right job can seem impossible. Working at a tech startup isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve read this far and think you have what it takes then what are you waiting for?

For any further advice about the opportunities available in tech don’t hesitate to get in touch at 0117 428 0600 Help us find the right job for you.

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