How to make a Startup job sound appealing?


My startup needs more software engineers, but I'm not sure how I should advertise this opportunity. Most job offerings promise working on a project for an International Company, and therefore a good reference in the CV, but a startup is the exact opposite. Maybe experienced engineers will care less about they CV, but their salaries are much higher, and they will likely question the cash flow of the company, and to be honest, startups are anything* but stable companies.

So, what are the upsides for a software developer working in a startup, and how could I make job advertisings make more appealing? Are stock options appealing to workers for example, or they will rather care about how experienced co-workers they will have?

edit: *Yes, I meant, that startups are unstable and therefore unappealing to participate

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asked Jun 1 '13 at 03:03
Jani Kovacs
75 points
  • **"startups are nothing but stable companies"** . Is this a typo? IMHO, Startups are nothing ***like*** stable companies. – Jim Galley 9 years ago
  • thank you, edited. – Jani Kovacs 9 years ago

7 Answers


There are several things which are appealing in startups:


  • Solve a lot of different challenges, be it algorithmic, ux-centric, new technologies or whatever, start ups NEED full stack engineers which isn't easy to come by and the people drawn to start-ups are the people who love such challenges.
  • Having a huge impact on the technological road-map and growth of the company.
  • As an early employee at an emerging company, you can progress relatively quickly from an engineer to a team leader.
  • Amount of experience gained in a start-up is probably 2-3x more than that of an enterprise.
  • Ship code to production quickly and see your impact on the user base.
  • Early employees are usually the brightest, so you might have the chance to work with the brightest people in the industry (that really depends on your company's culture)


  • Equity.
answered Jun 9 '13 at 21:11
Itai Sagi
337 points
  • I'm gonna accept his one, it looks much like a job posting, really helpful, others too! – Jani Kovacs 9 years ago


Startups are welcoming environments for generalists. Big enterprise typically likes specialists who work on the same things all the time. Startups don't have enough people to do anything like that so there's variety to the work.

If stock is part of the compensation (and it had better be if the salaries aren't much :) then there's always that lure of a potential payoff somewhere down the road.

Often startups use current technology rather than whatever was invented 10 years ago and became solid and boring 5 years ago. So that can make the work more interesting (and help the resume).

Founders in a startup often go on to positions of importance within the company if it survives and thrives. It's the big fish small pond vs. small fish big pond thing. Some people would much rather be the former.

If you've already got some good team members with interesting blogs, Twitter feeds, open source credits, or the company's business is something interesting, tout that. People want to go where they can feed off of good co-workers and grow themselves as well as helping others grow.

answered Jun 1 '13 at 14:13
John Munsch
141 points


You're right, for most young people, equity won't be that appealing. They want to work in big companies and make points to add to their resume.

At a later stage though (late 20's), they realize they have wasted major part of their time struggling with managers in so called big companies. Give them an incentive to work in a casual/politics free environment.

Efficiency is one of the major incentive you could give a prospective employee. You could get them started then and there!, the very same day as interview. Believe me, I was impressed.

Growing with organization is another big incentive. If your startup makes it big, reward the engineers regardless of equity promises. Remember, engineers are bread and butter of the company. They are the ones who make things happen. For you. Respect that.

All that been said, it depends on you how you want to hire. One way you don't seem to be thinking about is hiring contractors. They charge hourly rates and you don't have to give them equity. Nor will they question about money flow in your company. They'll just take care of their given tasks.

answered Jun 2 '13 at 01:16
Diablo Sharma
28 points


Pose the question to your current software engineer and see how (s)he responds.

If you can't get any good feedback from that source, then you should figure out how to fix that problem first.

At the surface, a quick Google "why work at a startup " will turn up the typical reasons why one would consider startups. The question is - does your organization resemble that? If not, consider why one would want to work at your organization if the risk is high and the returns are low.

answered Jun 1 '13 at 14:01
Jim Galley
9,952 points


Offer a fancy title- "Chief Technology Officer" or something.

answered Jun 2 '13 at 05:20
1,747 points
  • that would motivate some, but I'm afraid it would look amateurish to offer these in job adverts, and i'm not really looking for board members anyway – Jani Kovacs 9 years ago
  • No problem. FYI a Chief Technology Officer (or similar high-ranking title) isn't automatically a board member though. – User6492 9 years ago
  • This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post. – Christian 9 years ago
  • The author said that he's "not really looking for board members anyway". I wanted to make sure that the author realized that someone with a fancy officer title is not the same as a board member. – User6492 9 years ago


Be creative, different and most importantly, passionate about what you're trying to do.

Then port that passion into your future employee. If you can do that, the job will sound appealing enough.

answered Jun 10 '13 at 22:36
53 points


I think first of all you must advertise about our business/company. Once you advertise about your business, simultaneously you can go ahead with job offerings in your office.

answered Jun 11 '13 at 20:11
11 points

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