Podcast

Episode: 456 |
Joe Meyer:
ExecThread:
Episode
456

HOW TO THRIVE AS AN
INDEPENDENT PROFESSIONAL

Joe Meyer

ExecThread

Show Notes

Joe Meyer, Founder of ExecThread has been a successful start-up CEO and operating executive at high-growth tech companies. He was named Entrepreneur of the Year in 2012 by Crain’s New York Business and was #9 on Business Insider’s 2013 “Silicon Alley 100” list. Joe is the Founder & CEO of ExecThread, a VC-backed crowdsourcing platform and premium job-sharing network that enables professionals to access the “hidden job market”. ExecThread is the largest global aggregator of unpublished executive-level job opportunities, and this is what he talks about in today’s episode.

Key points include:

  • 02:15: How ExecThread works
  • 09:18: The ExecThread vetting process
  • 14:49: Advice to people looking for executive roles
  • 20:44: Advice for employers

One weekly email with bonus materials and summaries of each new episode:

  1. Joe Meyer

 

Will Bachman 00:01

Hello, and welcome to Unleashed the show that explores how to thrive as an independent professional. I’m your host will Bachman. And I’m here today with Joe Mayer, who is the founder of exact red. Joe, welcome to the show.

 

Joe Meyer 00:16

Thanks. Will, thanks for having me.

 

Will Bachman 00:17

So Joe, some of our, you know, some independent consultants I know are in it for the long haul. But some folks are also looking for full time jobs and kind of biding their time for the right one. And I think for for that part of this audience, exactly what might be really interesting for them to learn about what’s the just kind of give the in overall pitch of what his exact read all about?

 

Joe Meyer 00:46

Zack, for it is a highly vetted and curated community of over 125,000. Executive level, professionals who join exec tried to gain access to hidden career opportunities. And what I mean by that is confidential operating roles that are openings, right now, companies larger and smaller, like the majority of them are being worked on by retained executive search firms. And these are the type of roles that you would normally get approached by an executive recruiter for and hence you wouldn’t find on a job board, you won’t find them on a deed or Glassdoor zip recruiter, or the job board that that exact thread has figured out a way to source a large number of these types of opportunities, we have over 3000 of them on our platform today. And as an executive executive member, you gain access to those opportunities by virtue of being an executive member, and hence the value prop is pretty clear.

 

Will Bachman 01:50

No, so I think that the majority of them are actually posted by the subscribers to the service, right, the members of the service, someone, let’s say, gets a inquiry from a recruiter at Russell Reynolds or Egon, and maybe they’re not personally that interested in it, but they can then go and post that, that job opportunity on exec thread.

 

Joe Meyer 02:15

Yeah, that’s right, we source roles or opportunities in a couple of different ways. One is a crowd sourced manner, like the way you described. And the members not actually posting those opportunities in those use cases, they are sharing them with us. And then we curate those opportunities and vet them and then re format them into our user experience. So that there’s a consistent user experience across all opportunities. We also directly source opportunities directly from hiring companies and executive recruiting firms alike who post jobs on our platform. And then we also discover other confidential roles and opportunities out there in a myriad of different ways. But the aggregate represents those 3000 Plus opportunities. But they’re all equally unique in the sense of jobs that you won’t find on other platforms. The other major differentiator for exec thread versus other job platforms is that, because the vast majority of exact level jobs are not only discovered through connections in your network, but also your ability to get your foot in the door, and up the ladder, of that interview chain is largely determined by who you might know or relationships you might have. So instead of an apply experience, we have what we call a reveal experience, where you’re revealing the most important information about that job, which is the name of the hiring company, the name of the hiring manager, the contact information in the hiring manager, the name of the executive recruiting firm working on the search, the name of the executive recruiters working on that search, and their contact information. And all that juicy, actionable information is available to our premium members, which we call full access executive members.

 

Will Bachman 04:11

Yeah. And it is that available just by kind of paying a fee, or can you get like credits towards that by submitting, you know, executive jobs that have been sent to you? Or how does you know, how do you get that premium access?

 

Joe Meyer 04:29

Yeah, so first off, executory is a free service, it’s free to sign up, it’s free to sign in. It’s for free to Search Browse filter for jobs, it’s free to read about jobs, free to receive emails from us with targeted job opportunities. And if you find yourself interested and are a really good fit for any one or more of those jobs, and you really want to know who the hiring company is, hiring managers are the recruiters are. You do need to upgrade to become a full access member which is a very Affordable subscription. If you subscribe month a month, you can cancel anytime it’s $30 a month. Or you could sign up for an annual subscription, which equates to around $20 a month. But we’re talking about multi $100,000 jobs here. So I think a 20 to $30 a month, outlay is rather reasonable. And then any job that is directly sourced by us, meaning the hiring company or recruiting firm post the job on our platform itself, there is an apply experience for those a traditional apply experience, and we don’t charge you to apply. So you don’t need to be a premium member, or full access member to apply to those jobs. But any of the reveal experiences, you do need to be a full access member. You can also earn points by referring people in your network the exact thread by submitting job opportunities to us, by helping us evaluate talent, trying to join the network, we weren’t points for any of those engagement points or engagement opportunities. And then you could redeem or trade in those points to get dollars off of your subscription. So if you have 20 points on balance, because you’ve, you know, highly engaged with the service, you can get $20 off a subscription, for example.

 

Will Bachman 06:19

What’s been the reaction of the hiring companies and the retained search firms? Sometimes they might have been preferred to, you know, keep these a little quiet. And they often will not like kind of just blast these emails out to the universe. So have they gotten fussy with you? Or do they maybe not mind because it helps extend the reach? Curious the reaction that those Yep, firms have?

 

Joe Meyer 06:46

Well, I’ll start with saying that hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of executive members have filed their next GRE preventing opportunity for executor, which means that ultimately, the hiring company and their executive recruiters benefit from that because, you know, the hiring companies get, you know, access to talent that they might not have had access to otherwise, and recruiting firms close their searches quicker and get paid their add some fees quicker, and they can move on to the next search. Also, the executor member network is highly diverse in the sense that close to 50% of our members are underrepresented professionals, which means women or people of color, or LBGT coupons. And, you know, by getting talent from the executive member network, you know, expressing interest in that opportunity, especially if they are qualified, which oftentimes they are, it’s really a win win scenario for those hiring companies and recruiting firms alike to access such high caliber targeted, underrepresented talent.

 

Will Bachman 07:54

So I’ve looked at the job postings on exec thread, and they all are your truly executive level things. Tell me a bit about, you know, your filtering rules, like what do you decide to let on and go ahead and get posted on your platform? And, you know, sort out where do you draw the line? And how do you decide what’s in and what’s out?

 

Joe Meyer 08:15

Yeah, um, you know, as you said, the vast majority of opportunities on our platform are VP through C suite. And everything in between, you know, you will find a smattering of, or a small percentage of director level or senior director level jobs, but they’re usually, you know, those types of opportunities that much bigger companies and therefore, you know, if you’re a senior director at Adobe, chances are you’re going to be a, you know, an executive level, professional at a smaller company. But the vast majority of the opportunities on our platform are VP EVP SVP and C level, but also bought opportunities to at any given time, we have several dozen Board of Director opportunities on our platform as well. So we we truly go all the way up the food chain.

 

Will Bachman 09:05

I think you also vet the individuals that you allow to become members. Tell me about that vetting process. And you know, how do you decide who to admit to the

 

Joe Meyer 09:18

pill? Yeah, and that’s what I mean by curated. So we are a curated community in the sense of our member community is curated and our supply of opportunities is curated, which essentially means that we have that and evaluate any job that might be posted on the platform to make sure it’s a current role at or above the right levels at legitimate companies that reputable going concerns, and it’s still an active role, etc. So we’ll be betting on the on the opportunities, but we also do that in from a talent acquisition perspective in terms of people that want to join our network. We built rather sophisticated profile technology that enables us to build a profile For anyone who wants to join the executor network with simply knowing their email address and a name with that information, and then verifying your email address, we could build a complete profile on them. And then we can put that profile through a rules based recommendation engine, which is proprietary technology we have enables us to further evaluate that talent and kind of rank and score it rather objectively because we’re not looking at headshots, we’re not looking at names, we don’t know if you’re a man or a woman or a person of color or not. We don’t know if you’re gay or straight or any of that. We’re just evaluating you objectively on your work experiences and education.

 

Will Bachman 10:43

All right. You’ve been doing this, I think it’s at least a few years old, right? I’m curious to hear any trends that you’ve seen just in the past few years on the types of talent attend demand, the types of jobs that are being posted?

 

Joe Meyer 10:59

Yeah, I mean, the first thing I’ll say is what I’ve already mentioned, which is the fact that the executive network is very diverse, you know, two out of every 10, maybe two to three out of every 10 executives out there, or women or people of color, whereas in the executive network, it’s close to five out of 10 of our members are women under people of color. And I think we are on the kind of the forefront of that trend in terms of, you know, the C suite of teams are becoming more and more diverse with every day. And, you know, it’s all about getting access to these opportunities and being considered for it. So executive is helping foster and enable that trend. For C suite professionals to be more diverse across the board to is we’re seeing a tremendous increase in remote roles. You know, we oftentimes think about remote opportunities, especially during COVID, you know, affecting the larger company, but we don’t think about, you know, how it’s impacting executives and, you know, 15%, or more of our total opportunities on exec trade right now or remote, whereas a year ago, or, you know, 18 months ago, it was less than 5%, probably even lower than that. And that percentage is growing with each passing month. So, you know, that whole remote dynamic is going all the way up the food chain. So those are, those are two of the trends we’ve seen a lot of which is, you know, the diversifying of seats with talent and the migration to remote.

 

Will Bachman 12:41

How have you managed to recruit, you know, so many women and minorities to be part of the, you know, the user base of your of your tool?

 

Joe Meyer 12:53

Yeah, that’s a great question. And, you know, I know this is a audio only, you know, podcast here, but it’s not because I’m underrepresented myself. I’m not underrepresented. But I actually did feel the pain point, before I started exec thread in terms of, you know, feeling like I should have had more access than I did based on my experience to that point, and feeling kind of like I didn’t have the ability to access more career events and opportunities, because they were all confidential. And I wanted to solve that use case, that problem, I should say. So the whole objective behind executor Ed, in terms of providing more access to these otherwise hidden and confidential opportunities, was a problem I was trying to solve for myself, which is why I started exec thread. And I did have a theory that other professionals had that sort of frustration as well. And I thought there might be a lot of pent up demand for service at this. But but it wasn’t until I started exec thread that I realized that wow, this value prop is is disproportionately resonating with underrepresented professionals. And I didn’t realize that that that would be the case until it actually materialized. And when I started looking at the demographics of our network early on, we’re probably midway through, you know, somebody told me, you know, you probably skewed pretty heavily towards under represented and I started looking at the data and then that person was right, we do. You know, to answer your question, the value prop disproportionately resonates with underrepresented professionals.

 

Will Bachman 14:28

Tell me about any advice you have for jobseekers. And I, I know you’re not going to working directly one on one with users to help them you know, coach them and so forth and that you have some services that you recommend for that, but you’re kind of in the flow you’re seeing a lot. What’s what’s, what’s some of the advice that you give to to people that are looking for a new executive level role.

 

Joe Meyer 14:49

Some of the advice I give is kind of the advice that you’ve heard before, which is, you know, leveraging networks and leveraging relationships and leveraging connections, we just make it easy. You’re free to do that we give you access to those that information on a per career opportunity basis on our platform, meaning we make the decision makers, ie the hiring managers transparent on the platform. We also make the gatekeepers, ie the executive recruiters transparent on the platform. So you can then see if you’re directly connected to them, or you have shared connections with them. And so you can leverage those shared connections. So you know, that that is the tried and true way of finding jobs at this level of the food chain. So I would continue, you know, I would recommend the candidates and they continue to do that they leverage the information they get on exec tried to figure out how to best do that. Um, you know, and I would also say that, I think there is a reluctance or a hesitancy on the part of executives to spend money out of their own pocket on career enhancing career management services. You know, there’s always this kind of business mentality among professionals and executives to be able to expense career advancement type services, when they’re, you know, actively in gainfully employed. But then when they’re in their job search, they’re reluctant to kind of pull out their own wallet to spend money on whether it be a service like exec thread or resume writing service, or a personal branding service, or career coaching service. You know, the reality is, is, you know, the old adage, you have to spend money to make money. And I think, on this mindset that I shouldn’t have to pay for career management services, I think it’s it’s an antiquated viewpoint, to be quite honest.

 

Will Bachman 16:44

Tell me a little bit about your own story. Prior to exact thread, what led you to the point and founding the firm?

 

Joe Meyer 16:53

Yeah, you know, I’m a, I guess you would call me a serial entrepreneur, or at least at the minimum or stereo entrepreneurial operator. This is my third company, startup company that I’ve either been a founder or CEO of all technology startups. And two other experiences where I was a, you know, a C suite executive at a kind of high growth, start tech startup environment. So I’ve been at startups my entire career, just about and high growth companies. Um, you know, and, and, you know, I decided early on in my career, I wanted to being more in control of my own destiny in terms of, you know, not really kind of take the traditional job path, I wanted to forge my own way. And even though as an entrepreneur, you don’t necessarily have control over your destiny, you know, you are the one making the decisions, and you’re living or dying by the sword, as opposed to, you know, letting someone else make those decisions for you. And playing Monday morning quarterback, you know, here you, you are the quarterback, you’re the head coach, and quarterback all in one. So for me, that’s exciting and interesting and motivating, gets me up in the morning and fulfilling and all that. And it’s not just a job.

 

Will Bachman 18:17

Yeah. Can you tell me a bit about the team, sort of behind you at exec thread, I know it’s a really a tech driven company. So you don’t have necessarily need to have tons and tons of people. But just curious about your marketing or technology team and what your org structure looks like.

 

Joe Meyer 18:36

Yeah, I mean, we’re pretty lean, I mean, to be quite honest, and my last three startups, to my last three things, the third, have been quite successful. And besides my last two startups, who are acquired by AOL and Apple alike, and the startup that was acquired by AOL never got above 90 employees, usually in the 75 employee range, and the startup acquired by Apple never got above 15 employees. And both of those were highly successful acquisitions. And we’re following the same playbook here. Exactly. You know, we’ve never gotten above 20 employees, and currently we’re at around a dozen. It’s not so much the number of employees it’s it’s the capabilities of those employees, the experience of those employees and the work ethic of those employees and how well those employees work with one another. So yeah, we have, we have some developers, we have customer support person or two, we have a marketing person, we have designer. You know, we have a couple of interns working for us, we leverage offshore contracting talent as well. And, you know, I think you can provide a highly personalized, high touch service without people providing the high touch but instead, the user experience providing what you need and a self serve, sort of way and all automated way, and most importantly, in a scalable way. So we’re big believers and low touch from a, you know, professional services perspective, but high touch on that user experience and platform perspective.

 

Will Bachman 20:17

What advice you have for employers in this current environment, where people are really scrambling to fill roles, again, you’re kind of seeing a lot of you’re in the flow of this, seeing a lot of job opportunities flow through and a lot of people who are looking for jobs, you know, any tips that you have on on how companies can like craft roles that, you know, really compelling or get a lot of interest?

 

Joe Meyer 20:44

Yeah, I mean, I’m a believer that, you know, providing opportunities for your employees, providing empowering them, creating autonomy for them, having a high cause effect nature to their roles. You know, you know, being, you know, providing clear direction, and then then letting them do their job. And getting out of their way. These are all types of things that, you know, we’ll help you retain, attract and retain employees. So when you start micromanaging, people are starting to kind of be top down in your approach or start, you know, telling people what to do, or how to do it is when people start getting more disgruntled. And there’s a lot of optionality out there today. And I think, you know, if you could provide a culture and an environment where people are motivated and empowered, and you know, given autonomy, I think they’ll stay, you know, and I just read a stat the other day, and I reread it again today, where 70% of executives want their employees to go back to work in the office five days a week, and it’s like, you know, if that’s not an antiquated viewpoint, I don’t know what is. And that’s the surest fire way to lose people, which is like, forcing something on them that they don’t want. It’s like, yeah, you could do it, because you can push it on them, but they’re gonna just leave, you know?

 

Will Bachman 22:15

Well, I have not seen that. So, listeners, you can check out exec thread. And like Joe mentioned, it’s, it’s free to sign up at exec thread.com One word, right. E x, EC T. H. R e ad like thread. We’ll include that link in the show notes. Joe, any, any final parting tips?

 

Joe Meyer 22:40

No, I mean, well, thanks for having me. I think, you know, Umbrex, and exec Fred are very complimentary and the services that we provide to our respective communities. And it’s been great getting to know you over these past few days and few weeks, and we look forward to, you know, collaborating with you, moving forward.

 

Will Bachman 22:56

Fantastic. Joe, thanks for joining today. And we will, as it mentioned, include that link in the show notes. Awesome. Thank you.

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