Ask the Recruiter is a regular feature. We answer questions we receive from active candidates, those considering making a change or those in active transition. Send your questions to email@example.com.
I have been in a senior leadership position for a specialty physician practice for four years. I have accomplished everything I set out to do with the board when I arrived. There is no opportunity for financial or scope of responsibility advancement. I have a real interest in moving into a more entrepreneurial enterprise. How do I go about building contacts to make that transition?
Many start-ups or early stage companies prefer to do their own recruiting — either with internal resources, or through connections with their venture capital backers. There are firms that specialize in this type of search but before you go flailing away, develop a plan. The first step is to decide on what segment of the business sector you want to focus — where your experience skills and accomplishments would resonate the most. Then begin networking through LinkedIn and other resources to identify early funders who understand the importance of securing top talent to shepherd their investment as well as building your own connections. Use LinkedIn to get introductions. Have your value position down pat, one that emphasizes your quantifiable achievements, hopefully those that are transferable, or at least in the neighborhood of what the new company is doing, or trying to do.
There are numerous search firms with deep contacts in the venture capital world that are always scouting for new talent who can take an idea, build a business plan and execute flawlessly. But do not expect them to rush to meet you. Most are overwhelmed with talent trying to get in the door, so having someone make an introduction — a former client or candidate — is always nice.
This type of career transition is challenging but many executives have successfully crossed that career bridge. It takes time, a lot of research and aggressive networking. It helps to have a resume that is tailored to the client’s needs and demonstrates your record of success in terms of quantifiable metrics. Do not expect to get a bigger salary on the front end — it is all about the risk — but the back side financial rewards can indeed be staggering. It is always nice if the investors have done this before.
© 2021 John Gregory Self