So what’s the deal with CandidatesChair.com?
This quote from Malcolm Gladwell sums up why I pursue the passion to write, promote and figure out how to grow CandidatesChair.com.
“When you write a book, you need to have more than an interesting story. You need to have a desire to tell the story. You need to be personally invested in some way. If you’re going to live with something for two years, three years, the rest of your life, you need to care about it”
By trade, I am a finance executive – not a recruiter, coach, etc. – I am a guy who learned firsthand the difficulty of looking for work and shared that experience with dozens of other candidates. I know what’s behind the successes and struggles in the eyes of my colleagues, so what I can share is helpful.
Although early-stage firms can be equal measures of excitement and terror, I am loving the entrepreneurial phase of my career. As of September 2010, I am working a CFO advisor/founder for 4 early stage firms while looking at full-time opportunities as well.
I just concluded a CFO role for Maximum Communications that included raising $6 million in capital and launching an FCC-licensed carrier in six months.
The beauty of an early-stage firm is that all of the processes and procedures are swept away, so all that’s left to focus on is how to find clients and teach them why what you offer helps them in some way – oh yeah, then convince them to buy! It’s been a great refresher in what matters most in business and a nice complement to my experience at $1 Billion firms.
What also comes with early-stage firm is that the roles can be similar to projects - so you always have to keep networking!
Prior to Maximum, I launched my own business (Vallon Finance) and served as CFO/interim CFO at start-up firms, all of which came as a result of networking or my ability to network.
My on-going networking with Candidates
Since April 2007, I have chaired the Minneapolis Chapter of FENG (Financial Executive Networking Group). The role involves hosting monthly meetings, creating a bi-weekly listing of senior finance roles and networking within the business community to promote the listing.
I am Moderator for the ExecuNet Finance Roundtable which has been a great way to connect with people in my profession.
I also served as chair of FEI (Financial Executives International) Career Services for Minneapolis from April 2007 – April 2009.
- Search #1: 14 months (3 Months of discovery / 11 Months of full-time search)
- # of companies where I networked: 40
- # of 2nd place finishes: 4
- # of job offers : 2 (neither was taken – due to change in deal, unsolicited offer to acquire)
- 420 networking connections (excludes recruiters)
- 400 networking introductions – 250 Business to Business / 150 for Candidates
- # of people where I had a direct hand in their role: 7
Search #2: 2 months – spent working with start-up firms, until I got connected to Maximum Communications.
The big difference between my searches. Being known from my first search, not by just getting names, but trying to build longer term links.
What Makes Someone a Job Search Expert?
Because of this site, I often get asked if I am a recruiter, career coach, or outplacement service – as you’ve read I’m a CFO. Now do I consider myself a ‘job search expert’? Here’s a blog post I wrote for TwitJobs to answer that question:
Lisa Yoon, who writes for CIOZone, and I had an interesting conversation about our respective blogs and what qualifies someone as a ‘job search’ expert. So we agreed post on our qualifications for writing about job search and our view of ‘experts’.
Writing on job search – My qualifications:
I’m not an expert in the field; I’m an expert of being in the field. I lived the ups and downs of two job transitions and have shared the experienced of fellow candidates through the job transition group I have run since April 2007.
I try to write about what I sought most during my search: Advice to overcome roadblocks and how to keep a strong sense of hope.
Who is an expert? – My view:
When I was a job candidate, my experts were former and current candidates. Why?
Because they had fullest view of a job search experience: Emotions of losing a job, living without a paycheck, learning to pitch themselves and building a network. Within that experience, it was the trial-and-error of search techniques and managing their spirits that was hard-earned insight that was pure gold.
I did seek other experts for guidance on a specific slice/viewpoint to round out my knowledge of the job search process: Great networkers, executive coaches, corporate HR, hiring managers, and recruiters.
I’ll admit that often you see these individuals listed as ‘job experts’ due to their link to the search process. But I found once I left their area of expertise, their advice was based on exposure, not experience. I’ve joked with a friend, who is a recruiter, that it’s a bit like asking a happily married divorce lawyer what it’s like to be divorced. Exposure, not experience.
My view of an expert: Someone who is smart enough to bring together all of the views of a job search.
When you read my blog, it’s the view of a candidate. Just so you know what you are getting!