Recruiting with a startup twist

The UW Startup Job Fair gets underway with tables labeled with 32 company names you’ve probably never heard of: FlyHomes, AnswerDash, Saltbox. But that’s the point – these are early-stage companies poised for the next phase of growth.

The Seattle entrepreneurs who’ve come to recruit are dressed casually, a hub of T-shirts and jeans in the midst of a suit-filled business school. They’re at the University of Washington looking for students to fill roles from business strategy and social media interns to marketing directors and “growth hackers.”

But to Joyce Tang, a senior international business and informatics student in the honors Lavin Entrepreneurship Program, the UW Startup Job Fair is more than an opportunity for a job. It’s a chance to create connections to the high-growth firms that make up the Seattle startup ecosystem.

“It has such a different vibe than the regular job fairs,” Tang said. “There’s a really strong connection you build with the people you meet because they’re so excited about you and their company.”

While recruiters dominate at most job fairs, the UW Startup Job Fair featured 18 CEO/founders and 10 CTOs, CMOs, COOs, and CSOs. For Seattle startup Azuqua, that’s customer success manager Claire Korner Machado, who graduated from the Foster School of Business with a marketing degree and entrepreneurial experience. She found her place at Azuqua through the 2014 UW Startup Job Fair, becoming the sixth employee at the data and process integration platform company.

In the two years since Machado joined the team, the company has grown to 26 employees, and she has thrived in that whirlwind of growth. She’s still heavily involved in helping grow the team, helping to build Azuqua’s new California location.

“When I first joined Azuqua, I was looking for a startup that was growing,” Machado said. “It’s so fun to get new people on board who are excited about the product and our traction.”

At other career fairs she’s attended for Azuqua, students aren’t sure whether a startup would be a good fit. At the UW Startup Job Fair, students are hungry to experience the startup lifestyle and the growth and opportunity that come along with it.

It is a refreshing change of pace, Machado said. The fair offers recruiters a collective of potential hires who are already fascinated by the Seattle startup world and dedicated to jumping into it.