3 Reasons Why a Startup Won’t Hire corporate engineers – And How to Hack it


As many of those who have attempted it can attest, making the leap from a large corporation to a startup is not an easy feat.

Landing the job itself tends to be on of the hardest parts of the transition, given there many hurdles and hoops to jump through, and perceptions that startups hold about those who work for corporations.

In this article, we will be tackling the major objections in these cases and how to hack around them.


1. No experience working at high level

Some corporations come to believe that because a candidate was involved in projects that are too small and niche – they have no experience working at high level juggling a variety of tasks dealing with frontend, backend, and mobile simultaneously.

Being a software engineering “generalist” is an advantage.

Get your Github updated and commit to some open-source projects that may be outside of your “realm” at your corporate job and day-to-day niche skill set.

This will show your ability to work on various tasks, and that you have the capacity to work on many different areas of a product.


2.Don’t fit the work ethic and culture

Of all the differences you may find in between corporations and startups, the culture is one thing that seems to differ the most.

Startups often fear that corporate engineers won’t fit the work ethic and culture – long hours, getting your hands dirty, working on many pieces of the puzzle etc.

If you happen to work on new features, make sure to emphasize this on a resume and in an interview. Many startups are still in early phases, and while maintenance is important, a lot of startups are trying to get their product up and running and push out new features to remain competitive.

You can also, before your transition, try to get involved in a big project in your current job that shows you worked on something from scratch.

A lot of engineers work on side projects in their spare time, make sure to put links to your side projects on your resume and in your portfolio as well! This will demonstrate both your grit, passion, and willingness to do the A-Z development cycle.


3.Not enough drive or passion

Lastly, sometimes those hiring for startups fear that corporate engineers are not driven or passionate enough for a startup. Any individual can be passionate about what they do.

In this case, it is about being able to translate your passion for the company into your resume and interview.

Do your due diligence and do a lot of research about the product/brand and those who you are interviewing with and their background. Being knowledgeable about what a company is doing can show a lot of passion and drive.

A large part of a startup is being able to tell and “sell” the story of the company and product, and these types of companies are consistently looking for people in every role who are able to project their vision to the world.

Get familiar with the founders stories and be able to speak to how story of the company and founders excites you.


To conclude

Many of these hurdles are perceptions that startups hold about corporations, and regardless of their validity, you will need to hack around them in order to present your best “startup” self in an interview scenario.

You likely already have these underlying qualities in your midst, but having the capacity to emphasize them will break the barrier of those who think you cannot go from a large corporation to a startup.

It is in your power to make this change, good luck!

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