Finding a new job with variable locale...
September 28, 2017 12:22 AM   Subscribe

My wife and I are giving up on our city for reasons, so we're looking for new cities to which we can move our family. Current list of prospects is pretty long and we're not feeling terribly picky as they all meet our most important criteria. The complication is that I'm a C-Level Exec and I don't know how to find a new job at that level.

I'm the CTO at a < 100 employee workplace. This position was created for me while I was the development lead. I love my job and where I work and, thus, have never sought a position at this level. I've only ever worked with basic IT / developer recruiters prior to this (or sourced positions on my own) and also have never looked for a position outside of where I currently live.

The plan would be that I interview / acquire job and relocate while the wife / kids stay behind to sell the house and then they'd follow. Are there recruiters that function at a more national level? Where I could say "Here are 10 cities, I'm looking for something at Director of IT or higher with these salary requirements?" That seems backwards from the normal recruiter / employee relationship. Are services like The Ladders actually effective? Any guidance would be appreciated.

Throwaway email is
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Have you talked to your company about staying on as CTO and working remotely, and coming into town for a week every 6 weeks, or something like that? The CTO of my company lives 600 miles from the office. I live 1000 miles from the office. It's not an unusual arrangement .

My experience with The Ladders as a paid user was that it is a complete waste of time. Not only did I never even get an interview from any job posted there, I very rarely even got an acknowledgement from the recruiter or company that they received my application. I think the service is a complete scam.

Also "C level" for a smaller than 100 person company where the job was created for you is likely going to translate to Manager or Director somewhere else. You aren't going to get CEO looking for a new gig type attention. You are going to get tech manager looking for a new job attention, so adjust your expectations accordingly.

I wouldn't count on headhunters at all. It's 2017, you can find jobs in remote locations without their help. A retained recruiter has some value in that they at least have a contractual agreement with the hiring company to help them find somebody. But still, you trying to relocate for the job complicates their life and that means they'll be looking for an easier to sell candidate the entire time they are talking to you.

I think your plan is too complicated. Find a job where location won't matter, then move where you want. It removes one big variable from the problem.
posted by COD at 6:32 AM on September 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

I was/am an exec-level in-house lawyer and just went through a job search that lasted 13 months. It was not fun at all and well more difficult than I expected/heard it would be. (Though maybe in tech it's a different world.)

My experience with The Ladders / LinkedIn Premium / other specialty sites is that they are just dressed up aggregators of what is already out there. Some of them are pretty good at displaying jobs, but in my experience none of them offered any sort of edge in actually finding an open job or getting an interview/interest in your resume.

My experience with regular old headhunters was that they were friendly and had no trouble taking your resume, but didn't do much beyond that if there was no personal relationship.

The best luck I had was with (a) recruiters that do "retained search" work, where they have dibs on who gets placed, and (b) old-fashioned LinkedIn connections. For the recruiters, I invested some time and energy in actually getting to know a couple of them by visiting their offices and having lunch and seeking their advice and that's what got me the job I have now. For LinkedIn, if there was a job that looked interesting I saw whether there were any 2d level or better connections. My second-best opportunity was from a friend-of-a-friend introduction that got me in the door.

I hope that you find a great job in a great city in a short time. But be prepared for a slog and keep your head up. It's not you.
posted by AgentRocket at 7:40 AM on September 28, 2017

Also "C level" for a smaller than 100 person company where the job was created for you is likely going to translate to Manager or Director somewhere else.

Agreed on this point. I think what you should do first is polish the hell out of your resume, get all your good keywords/search terms in there, put it on Indeed, set up a couple searches for terms you feel will be high hit-rate for you (figure this out by doing some searching, as well as look at the employment listings for companies you think represent the kind of place you would likely find a happy home), and answer your phone/email for a week.

See what the searches turn up, see who's contacting, you'll get a lot of calls from recruiters and you can very judiciously respond or ignore depending on your vibe. The really bad ones will just paste the description in their initial email, you can search a pertinent part of the description, and find and apply for the job yourself.

Gone are the days, unless you are making 200K+, that an executive headhunter is going to cozy up to you and go find you a job. Everyone, hiring managers, actual in-house recruiters, and every middleman recruiter on and off this continent, are all searching same as you.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:46 AM on September 28, 2017

I'd encourage you to check out, I've seen people who are at your level have some success with it. Of course this depends on your interest in the locations they offer, but if it makes sense I've heard it works fairly well.
posted by Carillon at 7:50 AM on September 28, 2017

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