Like any other VC firm, we get a lot of people that call us looking for their next job. Some of them come in cold and some are referred to us. Given the economy, the number of requests for help has definitely increased over the past couple of years. With the increase, it has become very obvious that many job seekers are very unfocused in their approach. That has been very frustrating for us since we really want to be helpful. But the job seeker comes to us without any criteria. No mention about industry, size of company, role/responsibilities that would interest them most. In fact, I would say over 50% of people that approach us come without ANY criteria at all. They just say "What companies should I talk with?" But instead of help, they usually get blank stares back from us. It ends in being a very unproductive meeting and we both probably feel like it was wasted time.
So, let me share what I think works best for people that want to approach us for help. I will use a very specific and recent example since I think it worked so well. I will try and keep things generic.
- Individual in NYC is interested in moving to NC - no surprise there :)
- He is interested in a senior level finance role at a tech startup in NC and has the background to match
- He finds a person that knows us and asks that person for the introduction and they do it
- He researched & did his homework on companies in the region that interest him most - by going to places like this,this and this.
- He talked about his background and asked us for introductions for two companies here in NC that he knows we have strong ties to. He knew A LOT about each company already. The internet makes that easy. We talked about other companies in the region, but he stayed focused on those two.
- He sold us on the value he could provide to those companies, which made us more interested in making the connection. It got to the point where we knew that the company would want an introduction to him.
- He sent us a customized & short email for each of those two companies attaching his resume to each. This is important and makes it really easy for us to forward to those companies.
- One of those companies is now talking about hiring him!
Good story, right? Well, I guess better when he gets the job. :) But my point is the process worked a lot smoother and could end in a positive result. If he called and just rambled on and on about his background and asked us to connect him around, I don't think we would have ever matched him up with those two companies. It wouldn't have crossed our minds. He was very prepared and ran a very focused process. By him doing the extra research (and not relying 100% on us), it makes the conversation much better for everyone.