You hear about people working for startups as the cool kids of the working world.
At one end you have founders creating awesome ventures to serve customers, but on the other end you have the talented people helping to make it all happen. If you’re hungry for your next career move, how do you know if working at a startup is right for you?
We talked with Chris Brown, Technical Recruiter at Klaviyo, to get the scoop. Chris has been working in recruiting for the last seven and half years, and he’s passionate about helping people find the best job roles possible for them. His responsibilities at Klaviyo, an email marketing platform created for online businesses, are incredibly important for bringing on the right talent for the billion dollar valued, growing company.
All sorts of roles can be found at startup companies. Some you might not even be aware of.
Consider this your reference point as Chris shares what would make you a good fit for a startup, and if that startup is a good fit for you.
Can you adapt on the fly?
Are you someone who can easily adapt to different situations? Startups are always looking for individuals who are flexible and agile, just like them. "It’s kind of a learn by fire experience," says Chris. “It’s one of those things where things are always moving fast, always changing, and you’re going to have to be able to adapt.”
Are you looking for career growth?
Do you crave growth in your potential new role or in your current role? Of course you do! Growth is a given for any career role. But when it comes to startups, growth takes a whole new meaning.
Chris says Klaviyo is growing at a rapid pace, and you’ll find this is the case for a number of startups, particularly if they’re in the scaling stage. "I believe when I was hired we only had about 500 employees, now we’re reaching about 850. That’s been in the last five and half months," he says.
If you're flexible, can adapt to change in a fast-growing environment, you can expect to experience career growth at a startup. "I guess all of it just goes in with being as a startup and being able to adapt, grow, and in the position that we’re in where we have over $670 million in funding over the last two years. And all of that’s meant for growth," Chris told us.
Chris believes this really speaks to where the company is and helps him with the experience he is looking for. Whether incrementally or on a large-scale, the growth that you're looking for can be found at startups.
Are you non-technical or technical?
Don’t let anything hold you back in your pursuit of job opportunities, including a lack of technical skills. While some positions might require it, one like technical recruiting doesn’t.
"I wouldn’t say it’s necessary, but I would say that it has helped me quite a bit, especially when you start to speak with engineers that appreciate the fact that it took you about 10-15 minutes to Google something and understand it," Chris says.
When it comes to technical recruiting, Chris says they’re not asking you to be a developer, "But it is great to have that technical knowledge in what the technology can do for the company because it just leads to more meaningful conversations."
Don't worry if you think not having a certain technical skill will count you out. But know that it can certainly help you deepen your knowledge and expertise for any subsequent position.
Do you want to take on an essential role?
Most companies expect you to roll up your sleeves and start contributing to the bottom line after you start your new job.
With a role like technical recruiting, you’re an indispensable player. Because of the nature of startups, you have the potential to have a hand in the area that makes or breaks a growing company.
"When a company is trying to do great things and build great products, they’re going to need talented folks who can figure out difficult challenges," Chris says. "The way that I work is I know that my job junction is to find these folks who can really put their hands in the dirt and really engineer something great and really push us forward."
But this is just one example. Look into others and talk to people who already work in startups to get an idea of what role you can discover and snag for yourself.
How to know if the startup life is right for you
You have to go with what works for you. Just as the company is vetting you, you should be vetting the company. There are things you can research and evaluate the startup on to see if it’s a culture connect or culture clash.
"People who are looking for new opportunities, there’s always compensation," says Chris, who is also a Career Coach. "That’s kind of the base but when you look at a startup that you want to join, you should definitely look at the culture. I mean there are ways to review companies and see reviews and see what goes on inside the company without being there on a day to day basis."
"Not only that but you should also look at the upward movement. You have the ability to look at LinkedIn and see where some of the engineers or recruiters or sales folks have excelled and been able to maybe be promoted."
Looking into these types of things can be key indicators on whether a startup is for you or not, he concludes.
Chris also mentions the best part of his job is always helping people get to a point where they’re happy in their career. And with the generational shift to leaving a company in pursuit of other opportunities, he values seeing people stay on for the long term.
"What makes me happy is when I see the longevity that I play in someone at a certain company or I brought someone on board at Klaviyo and they love what they do. They find that they’re as passionate as I am about the company and that itself is a definite pleasure and reward."
So are you wondering if working at a startup is right for you?
Well now you know what abilities to evaluate yourself on, as well as where your professional endeavors would fit in at a startup. Not to mention, you now know exactly what to look for to decide if a startup role and the company is right for you.