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How To Get A Job After A Failed Startup

Head In Hands StatueLondon based entrepreneur James Maskell has a great post up this morning that asks an interesting question:

How do you find a job after your startup has failed?

Obviously, this is a tricky question for the entrepreneurial types of this world. If the venture that you’ve poured your heart and soul into doesn’t make a go of it, what do you do? Try, try again? Or maybe it’s time to consider NOT flying solo for a while and joining someone else’s team.

How do you translate your skills as a leader into a “normal” position. I suppose these are questions that are applicable to any leaders looking to take their skills to a new venue.

As the founder of successful AND unsuccessful startups over the years, these two points really stuck out for me:

4. Avoid HR departments – go direct to the founders

HR people often look after recruitment for an organisation, and act as gatekeepers to the founders or management team, who you would meet at the later stages of an application process.

Unfortunately, HR people will have defined roles that they need to fill, and a list of requirements for each role. In my experience, if you can’t tick all of those boxes, and they have a pile of other applications, you’ll get rejected. There’s little attempt made to look at the potential of a candidate based on previous experience, and they’re much less likely to see your startup as a positive experience.

Founders, on the other hand, are much more open minded. They get how difficult starting a company is, and know just how much you’ve achieved, even if it didn’t work out. They’ll be able to empathise with your position, see your potential and be more willing to take a chance of you.


5. Be clear about wanting to work for someone else

A lot of people expected me to go away and start another company. Other founders asked what my next idea was, and a few VCs said they were looking forward to seeing me come back and pitch within 12 months. I was clear about my financial need to find employment and support myself, my need for some time off the emotional startup rollercoaster, and desire to learn from other founders and businesses.

Some prospective employers expressed concern about my ability to work for someone else, largely having been my own boss for a long time, and with just a couple of years experience working for others. When challenged on this, I’d point out that as a startup that has raised money you still have accountability (and nowhere to hide) – it’s just to your Board and investors instead.

Read the whole thing here.

This article was written by: Brian McCullough

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