5 Tips for writing an effective early stage Job Rec

by Whitney Sales


  1. Realize the opportunity
  2. Be Unique
  3. Showcase your culture
  4. Be Ambitious
  5. Highlight who is not a fit


Attracting top talent is hard regardless of the stage of your company, but as an early stage B2B Saas startup startup it can feel near impossible. Large companies are able to pay employees more, offer job stability, health insurance, 401Ks and endless perks. As an early stage B2B Saas startup, you need top talent in order to compete, but you can’t afford the high price tags established companies are willing to pay. In order to attract competitive talent you need to be able to differentiate yourself from larger companies. It’ll be important to think through the kinds of experiences employees get working for you that large companies can’t replicate. </p >If you’re stuck on what your differentiators are, don’t worry. Continue reading for 5 tips on how to make your job rec stand out to the best talent!

Realize the Opportunity

As a startup, it’s important to sell any candidate on the opportunity that comes with working for a small, but up and coming company. While putting together a job rec, talk to your team and other people in your network who have joined early stage companies to learn a bit about what made them join their company.

  • Was it the opportunity to work with the founding team?
  • Do they offer additional training or development?
  • Is there opportunity for faster career advancement?
  • More responsibility and opportunities to learn?
  • Was it the flexibility to create your own path?
  • What about the problem the startup is trying to solve? Or the ability for the individual to see their impact?

Taking the time to really understand what attracts someone to an early stage company will allow you to showcase the opportunities it provides as well as filter for candidates that may not necessarily be a good fit.

Be Unique

Part of standing out is highlighting the things that make your team and company unique. People are often inspired to join communities that reflect their own values. What kind of values are intrinsic to your company? Don’t just say what you’re looking for, show the candidate your values in what you’ve already done.

  • Is the company female-founded?
  • Are you backed by notable investors?
  • Are you product, engineering, sales, or marketing led?
  • Are you diverse in some way? Self-made? Self-educated?
  • Who are your customers? How do you help them?

As a smaller business, every role is incredibly important, but is the role you’re recruiting for especially important to the company in some way? Are they the first person to be hired into this function? Who do they report into? Will they be able to build their own team?

.People are attracted to unique people, companies, and opportunities, so do your best to communicate how you’re different and what they’re potentially missing out on.

Share your Culture (& Be Fun)!

When most people write a job rec they think about what they want, but they don’t think about how what they write will be received by their target audience. The tone of your job rec will communicate a lot about your culture. Be sure to make it fun for your reader. Remember that the job search can be daunting, so communicate in a way that is empathetic and relatable.

.Use simple language like you’re explaining what you’re looking for to a friend. It should describe the kind of person who would thrive in that role, not necessarily the skills required. Here are a few examples of how you could make your language less formal and more exciting for a potential candidate to read. These tips can be applied to both business and technical roles at a company.

  • “Strong written communication skills” -> “Pen is mightier than the sword and aren’t afraid to wield it”
  • “Competitive -> “Guilty of getting a little too competitive on Board Game Night”
  • “Outgoing” -> “Aren’t afraid to tag along to a party (remember those? sigh) where you don’t know anybody and bravely wander off solo to make new friends”

Be Ambitious

In order to attract ambitious individuals, you’ll need to share a bit about your own ambitions. Share your vision for the company and any reasons or stories behind the vision. Candidates need to believe in the leadership team they’re signing up to join, so be sure to communicate the passion that got you to where you are.

.Showcase the ways your company is going to shape the future! Give candidates something to dream about that’s not ping pong and unlimited PTO.

Who’s Not a Fit

Part of the game is to also include a brief description of the type of person who is not quite a fit. Provide opportunities for candidates to be able to opt out versus simply selling them on the role. For example, most jobs at early stage companies are a bit ambiguous, and that’s part of the fun of joining a company early. That said, some people don’t do well in ambiguous environments. They need to do it ‘right’. These probably aren’t the best people for an early stage company.


High quality candidates increasingly want to be inspired by their work, and to feel like they are making a difference. Startups are in a prime position to meet this need, so be sure to share the opportunity and be clear on who may or may not be a fit. Be unique, fun, and ambitious. Do these things and high quality candidates will be cashing out their sick days to interview with you

Interested in learning more about Fundraising, Entrepreneurial Sales, and Leadership from Pre-Seed to Series A? Check out Whitney’s blog, sign-up for my newsletter, and follow me on Twitter @thesalesmethod.

Whitney Sales is the creator of The Sales Method and a General Partner at Forum Venture’s Seed fund. Prior to The Sales Method and Acceleprise, Whitney helped four companies gain entry to the Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Companies list, including LoopNet (IPO), Joby (acquired), Meltwater (acquired), and Tallie (acquired). The Sales Method is Whitney’s winning analytical process that looks at Sales-Market fit to align to a target market’s buying process, to ultimately help companies scale to market faster.

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