” Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work” Aristote

The Background

I am lucky to be part of the financial technology industry. New technology brings tremendous innovation in our sector. It can be a tsunami that will change the whole industry forever, or just a simple hype. However,  I have found while chatting to clients and colleagues that many of the individuals, part of the large corporate world in the sector, I have noticed, dream of a similar thing – becoming a part of a small highly innovative and highly successful company.  Like with anything,  I tried to understand,  why so many people in my entourage would want to do that as well as the challenges they are facing trying to move their career forward.  As it was more obvious to me why technology talent would be necessary to start ups, I focused on learning what start ups need to see in a candidate in order got him involved in sales, marketing or management. My friend Allen shared his point of view as well as I spoke to Jerome who teaches in a Swiss based accelerator, I also have some personal experiences, so here is

What I found

A research by, angel.co that documented the following:

  • 80% of startups don’t get enough qualified sales applicants.
  • 81% say sourcing candidates is the hardest step in filling sales roles.
  • 57% of startups report losing top candidates to other companies as the biggest source of candidate drop-off.

How to get involved?

Personal Brand

Many of the founders in the start up world, do not rely on sourcing candidates by reading CVs and cover letters. They need to see that you can do what you pledge and what they need. A good idea to start with establishing a personal brand. Google your name and see what are the results that come up. What do you want your prospective employer to see?  Brush up your linked-in profile, create a website where you can showcase on your own way what you have achieved. The list is endless.

Realistic expectations

Like with anything you need to ask yourself is landing in a fintech start up the right thing for me, do I really want that? Once you have answered this question positively, you need to have realistic expectations of what working for a start up really is. It’s not only the casual dress code, a random Wednesday night free beer and cool workmates, but a lot of blood sweat and tears day in day out, while you are trying to make the world a better place. Also, it means a smaller paycheck than what a bank would offer, but most of them offer stock. Getting a regular espresso in the morning instead of your diet frapuchino can mean that at some point you have your own equity in the next Bloomberg, Fidessa or Transferwise. Not to be missed.

Hop on a bullet train

Create a list of companies where you can add value and you want to work for. Know why do you want to work for them. Have your own sales pitch. You are sales person after all. It will be good to find these who got recent funding so you know that you are not on the job market again in three months. Techcrunch is a good starting point.

Your Search 2.0

Next step is to you smartly your network of contacts in order to get the chance to potentially be involved with the company you selected. You can start with your linked-in connections, consider relevant start up events or meet ups, visit accelerators or even speak with a specialized start-up recruiters who are sometimes excellent gate keepers.

Few quotes

“Sales, business development and engineering are our key focus at the moment,” says Gurle from Symphony

“We are looking for high quality people on both the sales and technical side. As well as being bright, it’s equally as important to us that we hire people that will blend into the team and be enjoyable to work with. This helps create a fun social environment where we can share good ideas,” says Paterson from Digital Shadows

“We are always looking for people to help promote Etoro locally and globally, so we are always looking for marketing and sales people in the financial industry. We now have offices in Cyprus, the UK, Russia, China, so we are constantly looking for people in sales and marketing there too,” says Assa.

It also seems that the future of selling is brighter than many thought.

Boris is a financial professional fascinated with new technology, investor and a highly energetic individual with proven track record of overachieving extended sales and product delivery targets both as an individual as well as managing teams.

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