I recently changed jobs. After spending 3 years at KIXEYE, I felt like it was time to move on and try something new. I landed at a small startup (15 people) called FitStar, which makes personalized workouts for people on their iPhones and iPads.
Whenever I see friends there’s the usual “congratulations!” and “tell me about your new gig” conversation, and then almost always the follow up question – “how did you find your new job?”
I found my job by speaking to venture capital firms, and having them put me in touch with their portfolio companies. This was a hugely successful approach, yet most people I talk to say they never considered that as a possibility.
For the job seeker there are many benefits to this:
- If you’re hoping to join an early-stage startup (pre-series B funding), it can be hard to find the companies in need of your position. In my experience, most of these companies do not use Craigslist, CareerBuilder, LinkedIn, or the other big job listing sites. AngelList can be a useful resource, but even better is talking to someone from a VC firm who knows which of their portfolio companies need which positions filled.
- The VC recruiter may know of jobs that companies haven’t even listed yet. There were many times I hopped on a call with someone who said “I don’t think they’ve posted anything yet, but they’re about to need a Product Manager.” There’s a huge advantage to being the only person a company is talking to for a position.
- Many times if there seems to be a match the VC contact will give you an introduction to the head of recruiting or the CEO. This is a massive opportunity to network and much better than just applying through their website or via a friend who’s somewhat connected to someone who works there.
- The person at the VC firm can give you great information about the product, company, and founding members. Often there’s much more to a startup than what’s shown on their website or printed in a TechCrunch article, and the VC route is easy access to a wealth of this information.
For the hiring company, landing great employees is one of their most important tasks and the VC firm they’ve partnered with (should be) one of their most trusted relationships. For the venture capital firm, recruiting for their portfolio companies is a great way to add value to these early-stage businesses. Win-win-win.
What’s more, many of the larger venture capital firms have talent departments set up to do exactly this kind of professional matchmaking.
If you’re looking for a job at a startup, definitely consider talking to venture capital companies as part of your search.