Good morning, All,
You know the drill: Bottom feeders all, and hate ’em till you need ’em, but remember: a good realtor can make your day. A good lawyer can save your company. A good recruiter can make your company – or your career. And a good VC can change your life – and potentially help to make even a small dent in the world. Roger Ehrenberg wrote a must-read piece: On Fixing VCs Ourselves http://bit.ly/J7sK2t There’s a lot of job creation going on in our community, as Roger notes: VCs help to create jobs. He also notes that “venture is the only professional services business which does not think training its employees is a good idea.” Not true. In down economies, many people turn to recruiting as a stop-gag measure while they’re between jobs. And therein lies part of the problem. As many of you know, I am a recruiter by trade, and let me tell you, it hasn’t been easy lately. Companies feel that they can post online, that stellar employees will flock to them – and that they can then underpay them, because times are tough. The truth is: with the explosion in the number of startups, the unemployment rate in this industry is not that high. Yes, Virginia, talent can still pick and choose, so companies do call in 3rd party recruiters – and many companies then feel that they can underpay them as well. That’s like asking a CTO to work for less than what they’re worth, because there’s a so-called shortage of jobs. Actually, it may just be a shortage of good CTO’s – and good recruiters. As for the neophytes who turn to recruiting: why not? They know a lot of people. How hard can it be to send over a few resumes? There’s a big difference between searching for keywords and being able to vet an applicant. They’ll call everyone they can find on linkedin – whether the person is open to career opportunities or not – and piss everyone off, which further enhances recruiting’s bad reputation. Neophytes are also untrained in managing client expectations. Sure you want a mid level front end programmer and have $70k budgeted for the position. You also need that person to know back end coding, design and SEO. Really? That’s not one position: that’s team. If perchance you do find those skills in one person, not sure that they can do it all well – and they’re not going to take a salary of $70k. A trained recruiter knows how to manage expectations.And how to advocate for both the client and the applicant. That’s a talent and at the end of the day, you’re working for both of them, despite who’s writing the check.Then there’s the questions no one asks, having decided not to go with a recruiter, and these, too, need to be factored into your bottom line: how much business have you lost/had to give up because you didn’t have the people to execute on the work? How many employees have you lost because you didn’t have enough people and just piled more work on to the ones you do have? We know that internet fosters some bad habits, but you have to stop jumping over dollars to get to those pennies. Here are a few lessons in recruiting for you: 1. There’s a difference between an HR person and a recruiter. HR people put systems in place and onboard new employees – it’s not their job to source them. 2. Recruiting is easy, so you hire a kid out of school for the spot, right? Ok, so you’re bringing in someone who barely knows how to write a resume – and you expect them to be able to read them? This is the person to whom you are entrusting your company’s brain trust and future? Those keyword searchers? In our industry, they’re called researchers, or sourcers, not recruiters. 3. Recruiters have and build relationships with candidates. We get to know them over time. We know their strengths and quirks, while your internal recruiter may spend may 15-20 minutes with a candidate on the phone and make a snap judgement. Hope, for your sake, it’s the right one. And again, how much experience does your internal recruiter have? Life and recruiting experience, I mean. 4. Big Name Firms and retained search firms. You paid them a retainer. A big one. Of course they’re going to find you the perfect employee. Retained firms split the fees in thirds: 1/3 upon signing the contract; 1/3 upon start date of the candidate; 1/3 30 days after the start date of the candidate, and their fees can range from 30% to $80k and upwards for a placement. Fact: retained firms fail to fill the spot in a majority of the cases. But – they’ve gotten at least part of your money, so no loss on their part. 5. A few more points to cover with whichever recruiting firm/indie you’re thinking of hiring: How long have you been in business? Do you specialize in my industry? What types/levels of jobs do you work on? What is your track record for repeat business? We all just witnessed the mess with Yahoo and Scott Thompson. Who technically didn’t lie on his resume, since he reportedly never submitted one (Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson Claims He Never Provided A Resume: Source http://huff.to/KebJBo) Retained firms: they don’t always bother with something so mundane as a resume. Which is quite an important document: it tells you how your potential employee positions him or herself. Young VC associates need to be trained, as do recruiters. And many a startup CEO, too, for that matter. What precipitated this particular piece this week was that last week I emailed a former candidate of mine who is now CEO of a very well-known company. I’d noticed that he had a number of positions listed on his site, so I called and asked why he wasn’t working with me. Well, he’d hired a few internal recruiters. Red flag: then why were there so many open spots on his site. The company’s not that big, after all. Not yet, anyway. I then told him the story of someone who’d come to me a while back, looking for a new position and I’d submitted his resume to the internal recruiter – who didn‘t see the right keywords, and summarily rejected him. I knew he was perfect for the spot, so introduced him directly to the CEO, who hired him on the spot. And that position changed my young candidate’s life. “That was you,” I reminded him. “And you, of all people, are banking on internal recruiters?” How quickly they forget. According to Ehrenberg, there’s a broken incentive model for VCs, and one of the suggestions he makes is to professionalize VC. As for recruiting, when you see that your process is broken, that’s what you want to do, too: hire a professional. It’s cheaper in the long run. Onward and forward.
New York Venture Summit Call for Top Innovators. If you are a Startup seeking capital and/or partnerships submit your plan for the opportunity to present at The 2012 New York Venture Summit, the premier venue connecting emerging growth companies with active Venture capitalists, Angel investors, Corporate VCs and Investment Firms. Presented by youngStartup Ventures, The 2012 New York Venture Summit provides an unparalleled opportunity for startups to meet, network and showcase their innovative investment opportunities to a leading group of investors. To Apply to Present.please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for an application.
The Brandery, deadline May 15th, Cincinnati. This is a seed stage consumer marketing venture accelerator seeking startups on technology based in Consumer Internet, Marketing SaaS, Consumer Services and Products, Media and Entertainment. $20,000 and Over $175K in Free Benefits for 6% equity. Program runs 4 months. For more information and to apply: http://brandery.org/
Seedcamp Berlin, deadline May 15th. Seedcamp is an early stage mentoring and investment program that engages startups through our monthly Seedcamp Events, where entrepreneurs present their companies, network, receive mentoring, and compete for investment by Seedcamp. Yearly, we invest in about 20 companies. For more information and to apply: http://www.seedcamp.com/ Seedcamp NYC is coming up in June. Watch for it.
NEW Tech All Stars, London: deadline, May 15th This two-day tech startup event where startups will network with influencers and connect with VCs, mentors, potential partners, and other resources. It takes place June 20th and 21st in London, UK. We’re including a complementary ticket to LeWeb London, so if you’d like to participate in LeWeb, clear June 19th on your schedule too. The winner will participate in an event on June 22nd in Brussels, Belgium so hold that date – cause you’re planning to WIN this thing! To apply: http://bit.ly/L1zd1A NEW Unreasonableatsea, deadline May 20th. In short: 20 Mentors. 100 days. 1 ship. 14 countries. 10 ventures. 1 belief that entrepreneurship will change the world. This is a mentor driven accelerator for tech entrepreneurs who desire to take their ventures into new international markets. In January of 2013, we will be welcoming 10 entrepreneurs and their teams from every corner of the globe to join us for a 100 day program as we sail around the world and bring their products and services into new markets. For more information and to apply: http://unreasonableatsea.com/ NEW Startupdreamteam, deadline May 20th. This a 9-week team-building program happening between June 18th and August 12th in San Francisco, which provides a perfect environment for 30 interns from all around the World to experience Silicon Valley at its fullest and build a lifetime network. To apply: http://bit.ly/L1yoFU NEW TechStars Seattle, deadline May 25th. You know the drill: a 3-month program; $18k + $100k convertible debt note, with 6% equity taken. TS provides seed funding from over 75 top venture capital firms and angel investors who are vested in the success of your startup, as well as intense mentorship from hundreds of the best entrepreneurs in the world. To apply: http://apply.techstars.com/
New York Digital Health Accelerator, deadline June 1st. The program will provide up to $300,000 of funding per company from a syndicate of leading venture capital and strategic investors. In addition, winners will have the opportunity to meet other leading digital and tech entrepreneurs in the New York community. For more information and to apply: http://digitalhealthaccelerator.com/
Blueprint Health: Transform health & wellnesswith your startup, deadline June 8th. Blueprint Health is a startup accelerator based in New York City that helps entrepreneurs improve the health and wellness industry. We offer an intensive three-month program and provide $20,000 of seed capital, extensive mentorship and a shared work environment to help entrepreneurs go from idea to prototype and provide access to angel and venture capital investors. For more information and to apply: http://www.blueprinthealth.org/ powered by Movable Ink For you edification this week:
Speaking of recruiting… 3 Common Hiring Mistakes With Recruiting “A Players.” As Mark Birch says, “there are ways to reduce the risk of hiring failures by being aware of common traps one makes during the hiring process when evaluating candidates.” He gives three points that cover the most egregious yet correctable mistakes when hiring for highly critical roles http://bit.ly/JgeQGY
Our next SOS 1-on-1 with an investor will be take place soon. Again, apologies for the delay, but internet week has set us back – and Memorial Day is fast approaching, which has made scheduling it a bit of a challenge. So you still have time to submit your decks and you must send us your deck in advance, and you can submit from anywhere in the world. The focus is on startups who are looking to get to the next level, which means, you need the money to get there. You do not have to be at the event, but if you are in the NYC area, it’s recommended that you come and have face time, if they’ve asked to meet with you after having seen your deck. For every one else, there’s VOIP, so do feel free to send your deck to email@example.com and we will pass it to investors’ rep. Good luck, and apologies for the delay in getting back to you – decks are still being reviewed and we hope to have answers – and a meeting date – soon. That’s it from us this week. Hope to see you at some of the Internet Week events this week and until then, as always, help is on the way…