Finding a new job — what could be more of a drag? Between the résumé-tweaking, cover-letter-writing, endless interviews and uptight-professional dress code, seeking employment is the worst.
But New York City startup Uncubed is looking to change all that with the help of puppies, booze and startups that are cool enough to snag you a Tinder date, at the very least. They host job fairs for grown-ups throughout the U.S., with a New York City event set for April 17. Tickets cost $35 for attendees and $549 and up for companies. Half the companies walk away with at least one new hire, a rep told us, and many more offer jobs to people they’ve met at Uncubed in the following weeks.
We caught up with Chris Johnson, the cofounder of Uncubed’s parent company, Wakefield Media, to learn all about the April 17 event. Some of the 70 to 100 startups present will be Buzzfeed, Birchbox, Venmo, Mashable, Seamless/GrubHub, Percolate, WeWork, Meetup and Thrillist Media Group — as well as a puppy pit, kegs and karaoke, a paper napkin pitch contest, and speaker sessions with industry bigwigs. And if you can’t make it to the meet-up, Uncubed just launched a job database.
How does Uncubed differ from other job fairs, which can often prove pointless and not offer the best job opportunities?
Uncubed is fun, high-energy, and packed with creative content (a live art show, a paper napkin pitch, etc. and craft beer and food). We work with nearly 500 companies across the spectrum of startups and tech companies (from emerging teams of 10 or less on up to Buzzfeed, Meetup, GrubHub, Spotify, Facebook, Zillow). These companies are hiring for all of their open positions, which include the most desirable jobs open anywhere in the startup ecosystem.The NYC event features 75+ companies, and the event makes for a creative, relaxed atmosphere for connecting with them.
Who is the ideal candidate to attend Uncubed?
The ideal candidate is someone who has relevant skills (digital marketing, digital sales, web design, or programming — or is already in the process of acquiring those skills), several years of experience, and is looking to potentially find an even better job that the they already have.
Beyond the job opportunities, there’s lots of other value in the event — including skills classes taught be execs at these startups (including some of the most influential people in the field). For example: the Thrillist CTO (Mark O’Neill) is giving a talk on what skills you need to equip yourself for an environment where you can go from a startup to being a $100mm revenue company. Christian Wallin is a UX Lead at Birchbox (after spending 5 years an experience designer at Razorfish) is going to give a talk on designing for web and a real product (the box).
Why is it better to try and get a job through Uncubed than to apply directly through a company?
There’s still no way to beat an in-person interaction. If you apply online, it’s too hard to stand out against the masses. Plus you’ll learn something, you’ll expand your network, and have a great time.
You can have a real conversation about their product and their passion. Barkbox is committed to supporting shelters and other dog organizations — they’re going to bring puppies from a partner organization to the event. It’s hard to see the passion startups have for their cause, for their products online — it’s easy at Uncubed.
What are your tips for people attending? Should they bring anything?
Tips for attending:
• Dress casual (a suit will likely do you a disservice – it’s not the culture).
• Do your research; do not go up to a startup and ask what they do (this happens with surprising frequency, and startups dismiss these people very quickly).
• Follow up quickly.
• If you have ideas for new features or product improvements, suggest them – it’ll make you stand out.
• Make creative biz cards. These are going to end up in a pile – it’s easy to make unique ones with Moo.com or other services
How does an applicant stand out among 1700 potential competitors?
In addition to the above, just be into it. Know the companies — do your research. Be yourself, be enthusiastic, show that you care. The companies do — they go all out. We’ve had companies have bounce castles, branded beer pong tables, live bands, etc. If you bring that kind of enthusiasm, you can find a fit.
How do you get such illustrious startups like Mashable and BuzzFeed to participate?
They all have the same problem: hiring fast enough to catch up with their growth. There isn’t another event that creates an atmosphere like this or has such relevant people. Attendees come in through very relevant channels — skill-specific Meetup partners and university undergrad/grad/alumni programs.