Dear startup business leader of tomorrow,
Landing your first job out of college is one of the most exciting and impactful milestones in your adult life.
You've spent the last several years with the best and brightest the higher education system has to offer and now you're ready to graduate. You've certainly enjoyed yourself and formed lifelong friendships, but you've also worked your ass off. And you've invested a criminal amount of money to ensure that you are a tough contender in the increasingly competitive job market.
If you're one of the lucky few, you studied a subject that has clearly defined career path and you are actually still interested in taking that route.
Alternatively, you studied a subject that you love but it's rapidly becoming apparent that Evolutionary Anthropologist isn't a job -- at least not without more schooling. And you're not game to double down on your crippling student debt.
In either case, you're not interested in working just anywhere. You don't want to spend the best years of your youth coasting through some mind-numbing corporate gig.
You want to make an impact at a company doing meaningful work. You want to discover and cultivate your unique talents with a team of like-minded people who value you. You want to build things that change the world.
You want to join a startup.
There’s just one problem.
Finding meaningful work at a startup is incredibly competitive.
And the reality is that few find it. We've noticed a trend after interviewing hundreds of recent graduates, a common delusion -- the idea that college is qualification enough to earn your dream job. A myth unfortunately, we're here to bust.
Startups are looking for the kind of self-starting ambition and grit that is rare. They're looking for students who have the intellectual curiosity to keep themselves informed about industry trends not covered in their coursework. Startups want candidates who can make themselves known by seeking out mentorship and building a network.
Unfortunately, you don't learn about these requirements in school. A privileged few learn these lessons implicitly by happening to run in the right circles. Which is largely why the startup world lacks diversity.
Thankfully, there are a growing number of people who see this problem and are working to solve it -- and we are hoping to contribute.
We're not going to make any extravagant promises about magic methods for acing your interview because of course, they don't exist.
This guide is just the beginning, a foundation for future learning to help you understand what you're up against and how to put your best foot forward.
We are providing a framework for preparation that will deliver results only as a function of the work you put in.
You wouldn't take the LSAT or MCAT and expect to score in the 95% percentile without test prep and countless hours of practice.
The application process for many of these jobs is just as competitive, if not more so.
The good news is, this guide is meant to be your startup interview test prep. We'll teach you how the game is played and where to focus your efforts.
You're all smart, motivated learners and if you put in the time we have full faith that you will land the job.
With love,Brendan and ZacSecret Sauce