Every week I get about 2-3 emails from friends who want to introduce me to good talent that wants to change jobs. They are in a good role; but not quite satisfied. They want to switch. Many because they dont see the growth they desire in their careers, some because their company is not growing as fast, so they are not getting promoted, and still others because they know one or two friends whose career is “taking off” because they are in a hot startup (most likely a Unicorn) and they feel they are just as good as the other person, but in a not so good company.
The surprising aspect of what I learned after talking to about 6-7 of them is something that has made me rethink my previous rule that HR teams drilled into me at larger companies – I was told “Employees dont leave a company, they leave a manager”.
Nope. None of the people I talked to actually disliked their manager. In fact quite the opposite. Most were happy with their manager.
So there is obviously a class of people who dont mind where they work at, like their manager, but still want greener pastures.
My first reaction was “Why”? To which one of the younger and more wiser job seekers said “Why not”?
I started going down the condescending path of “Only the best get into the hot startup”, or “The work-life balance at that hot startup is very poor”. etc.
Turns out none of that matters. Since most of the job seekers have made up their mind to join that startup, nothing I could say or do will change their mind.
I, instead said here are the 3 things you should do to get on the radar of that hot startup. (You can substitute “hot startup” for Google, Microsoft, Facebook, etc.).
First, “Be so good they cant ignore you“. Show off your work on GitHub if you are a developer, Dribble if you are a designer and SlideShare if you are a marketer. The future belongs to “great” talent, not mediocre, average people.
Second, “Make it easy for them to find you“. Participate in forums where your target company employees are – It may be Twitter, or Facebook or LinkedIn or some discussion groups, or offline events. You cannot expect to be an introvert and expect they will find you. You have to make it easy for them to find you.
Third, “Seek to know more about their customers than they do in your area“. If you know their customers well, they believe you must be good. For engineers this does not mean, market research or PowerPoint slides, etc. This might mean, what technologies their customers use, how they use their product, when do they use it, what do they like about it, what they dislike. Keep in mind we dont want opinions, or anecdotes, but facts and data.
Then do your best to network, slowly if you are introvert and dont enjoy networking. Find a way to show that you know more about their customers, and are extremely good at your craft.
The thing that wont help is a general email with your resume to me asking me to introduce you to my friends at a hot company. Not because I am mean or rude.I really want to help. You have to help yourself first.