How to Recruit a Startup Rockstar (who doesn't need the money)
How do you get a startup veteran with a rockstar record (and all the money they need to live a life of leisure) to join your startup?
Start by getting them to agree to be an advisor.
Here is a simple method you can use that worked for me.
1. Before talking, identify the leverage you have. Other than money, what does your venture have to offer? (Meaning, purpose, prestige, or experience.)
2. Do your homework and figure out how what you have to offer may be a fit for the candidate.
3. Adjust your pitch story in such a way that it is easy for the candidate to recognize how joining your venture will meet their unmet needs.
4. Get an intro and ask them to lunch to talk about the possibility of becoming an advisor. Getting them to join as an advisor is the first step.
5. Keep the meeting casual, share your story. Key: DON’T TRY TO SELL THEM, let the candidate find their next chapter in your story for the company.
6. Ask them, in a relaxed way, what aspect appeals to them the least? Start with the negative so you end on the positive. Don’t try to change their mind, just hear them out. Be a thought partner.
7. Then ask, what aspect of the opportunity appeals to them most? Talk casually about that. Don’t sell them, meet them where they are at. Be a thought partner.
8. Play close attention to their body language and notice what part of the opportunity most peaks their interest. You can trust body language more than words.
9. End the meeting in a friendly way, ask if they are willing to have a follow-up conversation next week.
10. Write a summary email. An outline of points below:
1. Great conversation.
2. Acknowledge something you learned from them that you value.
3. I enjoyed considering the possibility of you coming on as a formal advisor. In fact, I am now confident that you would be a great fit.
4. I appreciated learning that X, Y and Z aspects of the role seem to be a good fit for you. I also appreciate knowing that X and Y aspects are much less appealing.
5. Thanks for agreeing to meet again. I’d like to take our exploration a step further. I’d like to learn what would need to get from where you are to a clear yes. Who knows, maybe we can make it happen! Take my advice at your own risk. Every situation is different and requires special attention. The advice I share is intended to stimulate your own thinking, not replace it. You are the expert in your situation. I just hope this helps.
Is there an approach that you’ve found that works even better? Ask me a question about what I have shared.
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DISCLAIMER: Take my subjective advice at your own risk. Every situation is different and requires special attention. The advice I share is intended to stimulate your own thinking, not replace it. You are the expert in your situation.