The objective of So Do It in a Startup! is to discuss what it takes to take the ultimate step up to the daunting challenge of starting a startup from the voices of people who have not only risked it all on their dreams - but beat the odds and succeeded. Each panelist had a very different path to their current executive leadership positions at high growth, high tech DC area companies; the panel will focus not on data or numbers or case studies, but the stories that shaped them, their businesses and their outlook on the business of talent.
That the worldview and talent philosophies of each panelist differs drastically promises to be both contentious and cutting edge - and lead to an important conversation about the state of the world of work today - and what's new and what's next in HR and recruiting tomorrow, too. That each panelist has successfully launched a startup will show the audience the manifold paths to entrepreneurship, the possibilities of working in the startup world, and provide specific examples from the panelists' first hand experiences of what's worked for them - and lessons learned along the way.
Attendees will learn what startup life is really like, what to think about when thinking about founding or joining a startup, and provide insight into the leadership and people practices of some of the most influential players in DC's booming startup scene.
We took a few minutes to talk with Matt Charney, Executive Editor of RecruitingDaily and the moderator for the panel. Check it out at the closing session on May 26th!
You've had an interesting career path to get where you are now. Walk us through a little of your career path?
Nothing I’ve done has been intentional. I became a recruiter because I had a degree in screenwriting and needed benefits. I quickly learned selling jobs was good money and was really easy, particularly sourcing.
When you grow up with the internet and social, sourcing is ridiculously easy. I guess I got lucky, but I remember at my first gig – at the small, family owned firm that was ultimately acquired and became Manpower RPO – using Google to meet my quota for the day within an hour or so.
I’d watch everyone else fighting over directories and think they were complete idiots – and kill the rest of the time on what was then still “The Facebook,” which was closed to anyone who didn’t have a valid .edu email at the time. I’d occasionally work on writing, first screenplays, then essays about the stuff at work that pissed me off. I killed hours with what became “social recruiting” and ultimately, blogging.
After a couple quick, lucrative consulting gigs, I was brought into Warner Bros. and Disney for projects designed to increase direct applications and eliminate agency spend – which, obviously, involved writing cogent job descriptions, compelling emails and proactively sourcing and developing candidates instead of posting and praying.
I also somehow helped revamp both companies’ career sites, worked on internal mobility and recruiter training initiatives, and helped centralize and standardize both employer brand and enterprise search at some pretty big ass companies, which is funny, because I was like 25.
Still, now that social and employer branding (including copywriting) were actual parts of my job, I still needed to kill time at the office. So I submitted my first ever blog post to ERE, and think that I literally broke the internet with that one. That led my first interaction with the “recruiting industry,” which eventually led me out of recruiting and into marketing at companies like Monster and Cornerstone On Demand.
I’ve been blogging about recruiting and HR ever since. I’m just lucky enough to have enough people reading my stuff to make this my full time gig, and would definitely not advise anyone to follow my example, because that isn’t a career path. It’s dumb luck.
You've attended recruitDC in the past - the first one, I believe. What do you think recruitDC brings to the community?
RecruitDC was my very first ever speaking gig, back in 2010, and while I’ve given literally hundreds of presentations in the interim, you never forget your first, as they say. It was at the Wooley Mammoth theatre, and I remember thinking how bad ass it all was.
I am sure I said stupid stuff on some insignificant panel (Doug Berg was on it, talking about Jobs2Web, I think), but all I remember is being amazed my heroes from the internet like Gerry Crispin, Susan Strayer (at the time) and Lance Haun were there, live and in person. I was a complete nerd, but this was probably the event that hooked me. So, I think RecruitDC brought me to the community, and for that I apologize.
Seriously, though – it’s a testament to the talent in the recruiting community in DC that not only does such a highly localized conference bring together some of the top names (and some of my best friends) in the business to talk about issues that matter to their own community, but that content and conversation is world class. This is one community that really influences the bigger recruiting picture, and this is the conference that seems to drive a lot of that community. So, thank you guys for bringing the awesome.
For those that have not attended before, why do you think this is an important conference for recruiters to attend?
At this point, it’s sold out, so all I have to say is, you’re about to find out for yourself. The fact that this is a hotter ticket than the Nats or the Wizards tells me the fact this is one can’t miss conference kind of speaks for itself. Either that, or DC has pretty crappy sports teams. But hey, RG3 is looking pretty good these days, right?
Tell us a little about the panel discussion you are leading.
Hopefully, I’m not going to be leading anything. I mean, I’m going to be up there with some of the smartest and most passionate people in the startup business – Sam Cicotello from Social Tables, Yair Flick from SmartLogic and Chris Stone from EMoxie. Each of them has pretty much defied odds and helped grow their ideas into what have become viable businesses and buzzed about brands; I’m just going to pick their brains, probably.
Like everyone who watches Silicon Valley on HBO, I just want to know how the hell they managed to survive and thrive in the cutthroat, high intensity world of startups and what advice they have for anyone else with aspirations for growing a startup and balancing the demands of a high growth business with the need to hire the right talent they need to succeed today – and tomorrow.
I’m not sure where the conversation is going to go, but I know I’m going to learn a lot, and I can’t wait. Oh, yeah – and I might have a few curveball questions to keep things interesting, too. But I’m not going to spoil the surprise.
Foggy Bottom, baby.
Matt Charney is the Executive Editor for Recruiting Daily, whose flagship property, RecruitingBlogs, is the world's largest social network and content sharing platform for recruiting and HR professionals. Matt oversees editorial strategy and content marketing for RecruitingDaily's portfolio of online properties. Prior to joining RecruitingBlogs, Matt served in marketing leadership roles at leading HR technology companies like Talemetry, CornerstoneOnDemand & Monster. Matt began his career as a corporate recruiter for such companies as Walt Disney and Warner Bros.
Follow him @MattCharney or connect with him on LinkedIn