June 21, 2024
what startups look for in employees

Startups are constantly on the lookout for the best employees to help them grow and succeed. Here are 10 things startups look for in employees and how to get them:

1). Passion

Are you passionate about your work? According to famous founders, this is one of the most important qualities they look for in employees.

Passionate employees are more likely to go above and beyond their job duties in order to achieve success. They are also more likely to be excited about their work, which can lead to a more positive work environment.

In order to find passionate employees, startups often look for individuals who have a strong interest in the company’s industry or mission. They may also look for employees who have a record of being successful in their previous jobs.

Passion is an important quality for any employee, but it is especially crucial for those working at startups. If you are looking for a new job, be sure to showcase your passion for your work during the interview process.

How to display passion when interviewing for a startup job

As much as we are saying that passion is crucial when interviewing for a startup job, but it’s not easy to show. Here are five tips to help you shine: 

  • Dress for the occasion. If you’re going for an interview at a startup, dress like one. Wear clothes that make you feel energized and excited about your work.
  • Be prepared to answer tough questions. When an interviewer asks you how passionate you are about your work, be ready with a good answer.
  • Share stories about how your previous work has aligned with the company’s goals.
  • Bring up any obstacles you have faced in your career and how you overcame them.
  • Demonstrate your interest in the company and what they do. Be sure to ask questions about the company’s history, mission, and goals.

2). Intelligence

Intelligence is a desirable quality in any employee, but it is especially important for startups. 

Turns out, startups are often looking for employees who can wear many hats and take on a variety of tasks. 

They need someone who is able to think on their feet and come up with creative solutions to problems. In addition, startups need employees who are proactive and can work independently. Intelligence is key in all of these areas.

Intelligence can be difficult to measure, but there are ways to get an idea of how smart someone is. One way is to look at their IQ score. Another way is to see how they perform on tests that measure cognitive ability. 

However, neither of these measures tells the whole story. 

Some people may be smart, but they may not be good at problem-solving or working independently.

How to show your intelligence during an interview

There are several ways to show your intelligence during an interview. 

You can use your own words, cite examples from your experience or education, or use questions to probe for more information. 

In addition, you can demonstrate your skills through problem-solving exercises. 

Finally, be prepared to answer any questions that may be asked about your background or experience.

3). Work Ethic

Work ethic is another quality that is prized in the startup world. Many startups are looking for employees who have a strong work ethic and are willing to put in the extra effort to help the company succeed.

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A good work ethic is important because it shows that an employee is willing to go above and beyond what is required of them. They are not just doing the bare minimum necessary to get by; they are actually trying to improve their skills and contribute to the company.

Employees with a good work ethic are also more likely to be productive and reliable. They will show up on time, do their work, and not cause problems for the company. This can be extremely valuable for a startup that is trying to get off the ground.

How to demonstrate your work ethic during an interview

A job interview is a chance to show your work ethic and skills. Here are five tips for displaying your work ethic in an interview: 

  • Be on time. 
  • Arrive prepared, with copies of your resume or a list of your accomplishments. 
  • Dress professionally. 
  • Speak clearly and concisely. 
  • Be confident and answer all questions honestly. 
  • Stay calm under pressure.

4). Communication Skills

In order for a startup to be successful, it is important that the employees have good communication skills. This means being able to clearly and effectively communicate with coworkers, customers, and other stakeholders.

Startups often look for employees who are good communicators. They may ask questions like: 

  • Can this person articulate their ideas? 
  • Can they listen well? 
  • Are they able to build relationships?

Good communication skills are important in any workplace, but they are especially critical in a startup. 

A startup is a high-stress environment where everyone needs to be on the same page and working toward the same goal. If someone can’t communicate effectively, it can hinder the progress of the whole company.

How to prove your communication skills during an interview

There are a few ways to prove your communication skills during an interview. 

One way is to share an example of a time when you had to communicate with someone who was difficult to work with or disagreed with you. 

Explain how you handled the situation and what you learned from it. 

Another way is to talk about a time when you had to give a presentation or lead a meeting. 

Describe the steps you took to prepare for the presentation or meeting and how the experience went.

5). Team Player

No one can do it alone. 

And that is why startups are always on the lookout for team players. They know that a cooperative, communicative, and helpful employee is key to the success of their company. 

For you, a team player is someone who is able to work well with others and is willing to put the team’s success before their own. They are also able to take direction and work collaboratively to achieve common goals.

Team players are essential in startups, where everyone needs to be able to wear many hats and pitch in wherever needed. 

They are also important in larger businesses, where teams can often become siloed and need someone who can break down those barriers and get everyone working together again.

If you are looking to hire a team player, there are a few things you can look for. 

First, ask them about their previous experiences working in teams. How did they contribute? Did they put the team first, or were they more concerned with their own individual goals?

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6). Leadership Abilities

Startups are always on the lookout for people with leadership potential. Leaders can help a startup grow and be successful. 

A good leader knows how to motivate and inspire employees, and can make important decisions when needed. Leaders also need to be able to work well with others and be able to communicate effectively.

Leaders are important in any organization, but especially in startups. A startup is a company that is in its early stages and is trying to grow and become successful. 

It is often difficult for a startup to get off the ground, so it’s important to have someone in charge who can make things happen.

Leaders need to have a lot of different skills, including the ability to think strategically, make decisions quickly, and manage people effectively. 

They also need to be able to handle stress well and stay calm under pressure.

How to demonstrate your leadership skills during an interview

There are a few ways to demonstrate your leadership skills during an interview. 

One way is to talk about a time when you took on a leadership role in a difficult situation. 

You can also share examples of how you’ve motivated and inspired others. 

Additionally, you can discuss your ability to make tough decisions and handle conflict. 

Whatever examples you choose, make sure to describe how your leadership skills benefited the team or organization as a whole.

7). Culture Fit

In order for a startup to succeed, the team must be aligned with the culture of the company. 

That explains why cultural fit is key when it comes to hiring new employees. 

A person who is not a good fit for the company’s culture can disrupt the harmony of the team and hinder productivity.

And that is why startups are looking for people who share their values and are excited about their mission. 

Hiring someone who does not align with the company’s culture can be costly and time-consuming. It is important to take the time to assess whether or not a potential employee is a good fit for your company.

When interviewing candidates, ask them questions that will help you assess their cultural fit. Are they passionate about your mission? Do they have similar values? Are they excited about the challenges of working in a startup?

8). Coachability

Another one of the most important traits startups look for in employees is coachability. This means being able to take feedback and criticism, as well as direction from others, in order to improve oneself. 

It is essential that the employees are able to listen to others and be willing to change their approach in order to succeed. 

After all, a startup is a constantly evolving entity, and those who are unwilling or unable to adapt will quickly find themselves left behind.

Another key characteristic of coachable people is their ability to take ownership of their mistakes. When things go wrong in a business – and they often do – it’s crucial that the founders are able to own up to their failures and learn from them. 

Being able to admit when one is wrong and seeking guidance from others on how to move forward is a hallmark of a successful entrepreneur.

How to demonstrate your ability to take feedback during an interview

One way to show that you are able to take feedback is to give an example of a time when you received constructive criticism and how you reacted. 

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For instance, you could say that you were working on a project and your boss gave you some feedback about how you could improve. 

You took the feedback to heart and made the changes that were suggested. This shows that you are willing to listen to feedback and make changes accordingly.

9). Humility

Humility is the quality of being unassuming or not having a high opinion of oneself. It is often seen as a virtue because it can prevent people from becoming arrogant or conceited.

When humility is present in an individual, it often goes hand-in-hand with other positive character traits such as intelligence, integrity, and courage. 

A humble person is not boastful or arrogant but is confident and self-assured without being conceited. They know their strengths and weaknesses and don’t pretend to be something they are not.

Startups are often looking for employees who have humility because it’s a quality that is beneficial in the workplace. 

Humble employees are more willing to listen and learn from others, take feedback constructively, and be team players (see point 8). They aren’t concerned with taking all the credit or getting recognition and instead focus on doing their best and contributing to the team’s success. 

Additionally, humble individuals are less likely to get caught up in politics and office drama, which can be toxic to a work environment.

How to show you’ve got it

There are a few things you can do to show humility during an interview. 

First, be prepared and honest about your weaknesses. 

Second, don’t be afraid to admit when you don’t know something. 

Finally, be respectful to your interviewer and thank them for their time at the end of the interview.

10). Intrapreneurship

Intrapreneurship is the act of creating and leading a startup-like project or effort within a larger organization. 

It is a term often used in the business world to describe employees who take on the challenge of starting something new, despite the inherent risk. Intrapreneurship is also seen as a way to drive innovation within a company by giving employees the opportunity to think and work like entrepreneurs.

There are many benefits to intrapreneurship, including increased creativity and problem-solving ability, improved communication and teamwork, and enhanced leadership skills. 

Intrapreneurs also tend to be more engaged in their work, which can lead to better performance and productivity.

How to show you’ve got it

If you want to show an interviewer that you have an entrepreneurial spirit, you can talk about a time when you took on a project or initiative without being asked to do so. 

You can also describe how you’ve been able to create value in your previous roles, even if you weren’t responsible for generating revenue. 

Finally, be prepared to share your vision for how you could contribute to the company if hired.


In conclusion, startups are looking for employees that are passionate about their work, have a strong work ethic, and are willing to take risks. 

They also value employees who have experience in the industry and are able to think outside the box. If you are interested in working for a startup, make sure that you showcase these qualities during your interview.

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