Five companies won $1 million investments on October 20th at the 43North—a Buffalo-based startup accelerator—eighth annual startup competition.
Over the next several months, the winners will begin to settle into their new workspaces inside Seneca One in downtown Buffalo. While one company is already local to western New York, the other four will be relocating to the Queen City from across the country.
Once they hit the ground running—and with significant new funding under their belts—hiring will be a top priority as they build their business.
“If you’re looking to get in on the ground floor of a rapidly growing business, now is a great time to make a move,” says Chad Witherell, recruiter for Viaduct and Forge Buffalo, the area’s go-to talent hub for startup jobs. “From sales and marketing to operations and product development, we’re looking to fill a wide range of roles.”
Witherell will be working closely to find and secure top talent for 43North’s newest cohort and will be actively recruiting for dozens of key positions. If you’re interested in joining one of these startups, keep an eye on the Forge Buffalo job board or sign up to have jobs emailed directly to you each week.
You can read more about each of the newest 43North portfolio companies below.
AMPAworks is a team of doctors, nurses, and engineers who have built an Internet of Things (IoT) camera using computer vision artificial intelligence (AI). This technology grants them full inventory visibility in pharmacies, medical device companies, surgery centers, clinics, and hospitals. Their system enables shelf-to-shelf granularity of inventory to help with demand planning and re-stocking.
Mod Tech Labs assists enterprise companies to create universal 3D content at scale by digitizing the real world using photos. Their no-code processing platform cleans, refines, and enhances 3D imagery of objects, places, and people with automated AI-powered tools.
Otrafy is an AI-powered SaaS supplier management platform with the ability to automate compliance and manage risks. This integrated platform automates repetitive tasks and analyzes supplier performance to reduce workloads.
Phood integrates with universities’ card services to connect students’ flex dollar accounts and the gig economy. A virtual debit card is issued by Phood to students which can be used to purchase goods and services from third-party vendors—like DoorDash—at no extra cost to the university.
Twipes is a biotech materials company that has developed the world’s first truly flushable and biodegradable wet wipes. Made from natural wood pulp fibers—that break down in water in three hours and biodegrade in a landfill in seven days—this product is PETA-certified vegan and cruelty free.
Buffalo’s entrepreneurial spirit is certainly alive and well. If you’re ready to join our city in building something big, get your resume ready and head over to forgebuffalo.com for a full list of opportunities with the region’s hottest startups.
If you’re a founder or recruiter at a growing startup organization you may be finding it challenging to attract and recruit quality workers in today’s candidate-driven labor market. Your organization needs workers with a specific skill set, who are ready to hustle and have a sense of flexibility that comes with being part of a growing organization. As a startup, you likely don’t have the hiring resources or brand awareness of more established businesses. In fact, an inability to make key hires is the reason 14 percent of startups fail. What are some of the common recruiting scaleup mistakes made by startups that cause setbacks or failure?
Overhiring or hiring too soon: An influx of new hires will have a large impact on a startup’s budget and resources. When founders overhire or hire too soon, a lot of their time and energy ends up being diverted into management—distracting them from doing work related to their core business. Before you even begin the hiring process, it’s important that you determine your business needs, what tasks your new employees will perform, and how many workers it will take to do the job. Doing this will save you time, money, and the critical resources that you need to operate and scale efficiently.
Thinking that all sourcing funnels are equal: Examples of candidate sources include referrals, professional social media sites, and job boards. When building your recruitment strategy, it’s important to consider the positives and negatives of each source to ensure you’re using an appropriate combination. Founders and recruiters often make a like-to-like comparison between candidate sources without accounting for the differences between them and how each affects a startup organization’s hiring outcomes.
Depending on one channel to source all your candidates is never a good idea. Each source has tradeoffs that recruiters must consider when building their overall recruiting strategy. Take time to evaluate each, the positions you’re hiring for, and your hiring budget. If you are relying solely on job boards and professional networking sites to find top talent, you’re missing out on passive candidates that are not actively applying for roles. If you are dependent on referrals to fill all your open positions, you may have difficulty scaling as quickly as planned because you won’t have enough qualified candidates. It’s important to use a multi-pronged approach to identify and hire top talent to meet your startup business growth goals.
Failing to “court” your candidate: Prospective employees want to know “what’s in it for me?” 89 percent of passive candidates evaluate your brand before applying and businesses with reputable brands receive 50 percent more qualified applicants. Does your company have a strong Employee Value Proposition (EVP) to effectively communicate your organization’s benefits, corporate culture, and reasons why workers should want to consider a job opportunity?
In today’s hyper-competitive job market, it’s critical to foster a strong relationship with prospective job seekers throughout the entire hiring process. Building trust and having good communication will reduce the likelihood of misunderstandings and candidate ghosting.
Slow decision-making process: There’s a limited supply of talent and the best candidates are in high demand and receive multiple job offers. If the interview process is two to four weeks or more, almost 40 percent of job seekers lose interest and pursue other roles. If you’re not prepared to make a quick decision, you may lose out on quality talent to your competitors.
Position your startup for success
When it comes to startup hiring, every decision is important and there’s little room for error. Because your team is small, each additional employee is critical to your company’s growth and success. A successful recruiting strategy requires a multi-pronged approach. Here’s what we suggest:
Because they are under time constraints, many startup founders and leaders seek sourcing and recruiting assistance from outside talent acquisition firms focused on the talent needs of emerging businesses. Learn more about Viaduct’s services here.
This blog was written by Viaduct’s Director of Recruiting and Business Operations Tom Hausler.
A C-suite interview has a much different dynamic than a standard mid-level management interview. The stakes are higher because the candidate being interviewed will be a critical leader in the company and this person must share the hiring organization’s goals and vision. A Chief Growth Officer (CGO) should possess the knowledge necessary to drive revenue, reputation, and business growth. Therefore, the interviewer will need to ask the right questions that require the executive candidate to reflect on the past, focus on the present, and envision the future to demonstrate his or her level of competency, skills, strategy, and passion. The interview is also the opportune time to assess leadership skills and communication style. To help find a good fit, we have compiled a list of interview questions targeted specifically to a CGO position.
The Role of CGO
The CGO is responsible for managing an organization’s revenue, market fit, and customer growth. Focusing on external market dynamics, customer needs, and overall buyer behavior, a CGO oversees the marketing, sales, business development, and purchasing departments to foster a customer-centric internal alignment. After monitoring product development activities, the CGO makes sure all marketing activities are driven by a specified value proposition that continues throughout the entire sales process to create a seamless customer experience. A CGO can assist a company cut through the red tape often found between departments and direct drivers to one skilled, innovative professional that is solely focused on overall growth.
1. How does your current company cultivate a workplace culture that’s open to innovation?
To foster organizational growth, a CGO must be able to make bold decisions. This requires a corporate culture open to innovation. Does the executive candidate’s current company foster thinking outside the box? Are employees encouraged to voice less-than-fully formed solutions? You are looking for a leader who’s a conceptual thinker with ideas that are not bound by the typical restraints that often hinder others. Listen for words or phrases like brainstorming, global, vision, cutting edge, and big picture.
2. What strategies do you use to understand your customers and market fit?
To successfully meet your customer’s needs, a CGO must possess the ability to find innovative ways to glean insights into the future to know where your industry is headed to stay ahead of emerging trends. A CGO must keep the customer at the center of all business activities—which requires the ability to listen and understand customer needs and foster trust. Building on this, the CGO must then determine whether the business can meet these needs. If the answer is no, the CGO must adjust strategies accordingly. In an increasingly crowded marketplace, organizations focused on customer experience and satisfaction will emerge as industry leaders. Listen for signs that the CGO candidate is willing to do whatever it takes to deliver products and services that meet and exceed customer expectations.
3. What strategies do you use to drive growth?
Growth doesn’t come from maintaining the status quo. In today’s marketplace, successful growth requires a long-term vision that serves as the foundation of a company-wide strategy. To uncover changing customer attitudes and needs, a CGO must analyze and understand market trends to determine if there’s a need for new product development. Using this information, the CGO must then devise strategies to improve the company’s product or service to create opportunities for growth in the marketplace through customer acquisition—while ensuring long-term retention. Ask the candidate open-ended follow-up questions to get a firm understanding of his or her strategy and philosophy on organizational growth. You want to leave the interview with a clear picture of how the candidate would grow your product or service.
During the interview, it’s important to ask questions that help you access the candidate’s ability to take your organization to the next level. The decisions made by Chief Growth Officer will drive organizational growth through deliberate and strategic efforts. A great CGO knows how to discover, develop, and implement advanced growth initiatives—aimed at driving revenue and business growth—to maintain organizational success.
This blog was written by Viaduct Managing Director Peter Petrella.
Another valuable resource: Adopt These 4 Components of Effective Leadership for a Successful New Year, by our partner TalentRise.
In January, the winners of 43North’s seventh annual startup competition began to settle into their new workspaces inside the Seneca One in downtown Buffalo. While some of these companies were already local to western New York, others relocated to the Queen City from across the country and even overseas.
Since then, they’ve hit the ground running – and with significant new funding under their belts, they’ve made hiring a top priority.
“If you’re looking to get in on the ground floor of a rapidly growing business, now is a great time to make a move,” says Chad Witherell, recruiter for Forge Buffalo, the area’s go-to talent hub for startup jobs. “From sales and marketing, to operations and product development, we’re looking to fill a wide range of roles.”
Witherell has been working closely to find and secure top talent for 43North’s newest cohort, already landing critical hires for BetterMynd, Big Wheelbarrow, ShearShare, and Zealot Interactive and actively recruiting for dozens of other key positions.
“The assistance from Forge and 43North to help uncover great talent has truly surpassed our expectations,” says, Courtney Caldwell, Cofounder & COO of ShearShare. “Within the first month of landing in Buffalo, we hired four local team members, including our CTO and Head of Revenue Operations! Job openings that had gone unfulfilled for years are now staffed with remarkable talent. We’re proud to say that our Buffalo office now accounts for almost half of the entire ShearShare team!”
You can read more about each of the newest 43North portfolio companies below.
Buffalo’s entrepreneurial spirit is certainly alive and well. If you’re ready to join our city in building something big, get your resume ready and head over to forgebuffalo.com/jobs for a full list of opportunities with the region’s hottest startups.
The demand for labor during today’s candidate-driven market is fierce and employers have had to adjust their hiring strategies to attract top talent. For startups, the process is even more challenging because you’re competing with well-known established organizations within your industry. So, what can you do to stand out and appear unique? Here are some ways to attract and hire talent that fits within your organizational culture.
1. Share your founding mission and vision
We all love a good story. If you can effectively communicate your organization’s unique evolution and runway to scale to job candidates, you will be more successful at attracting top talent. Where did the idea to form your company originate? What challenges did your founders overcome to get to where you are today? Most importantly—assuming “mission” success—what is your vision for 1, 3, and 5 years in the future? Share competitor information and your organization’s key differentiators. Millennials—the largest generation in the workforce—and Generation Z candidates are attracted to companies with a mission and vision that they can relate to and get excited about.
2. Give employees autonomy
Top startups have a unique energy that is evident within their company culture. Frequently this energy is rooted in the development of new products and services. Google has been recognized for allowing its employees to spend up to 20 percent of their time working on projects they personally feel are most beneficial to the company’s growth and success. To what extent do your company’s leaders support innovation and new ideas? Autonomy is a key driver of employee engagement. Giving employees the freedom to explore and share new ideas—that are not required to be implemented—is a positive step toward fostering autonomy. Throughout the hiring process, share examples of successful innovation that resulted from your employees’ ability to take ownership of their projects.
3. Foster a culture of learning and development
Startups typically can’t afford expensive training programs—whether it be in person or online. Research shows that workers retain more than 75 percent of the information they learn through experiential learning—which occurs when an employee gains new skills and competencies through on-the-job experiences and challenges. Job rotation—when employees are moved between jobs within an organization—and job enlargement—when an employee remains in his or her existing role but takes on additional tasks and responsibilities that require training—foster skill development. Share examples of how your employees learn from one another through intentional collaboration such as job shadowing, informational interviews, and mastermind groups. Explain how you develop and leverage your employees’ abilities to foster success and illustrate how the role the candidate is interviewing for is integral to achieving the company’s growth objectives.
4. Structure positions around skills and strengths
It’s important to focus on the work that needs to be done within your organization—with demonstratable skills and learning agility—and stop focusing solely on experience and past job titles of job candidates. Transferable skills are competencies that a candidate has developed throughout his or her life that can “transfer” to a variety of different roles and industries. These skills may have been obtained in a previous job, during his or her education, or through hobbies or volunteer work. By molding position responsibilities around an individual’s skills and strengths, your organization can successfully hire top talent.
5. Build a competitive compensation strategy
Build a compensation strategy that accounts for equity-eligible positions and leverage it as a selling point to recruit top candidates. Startups often pay less than established organizations so it’s important to have a competitive compensation structure to share with candidates. Significant thought should go into your organizational approach to equity/stock allocation to ensure it’s advantageous to all stakeholders. Benchmarking data, best practices, and consultants with expertise in this area are available to help your leadership team navigate this process. Several important questions to get started include:
6. Capture employee referrals
Who understands your organizational culture better than your current employees? Use this to your advantage to identify top job candidates. According to CareerBuilder, 88 percent of employers rate employee referrals above all other sources for generated quality of new hires, and 82 percent rate them above all other sources for generating the best return of investment. Incentivize your employees monetarily—or with PTO days, volunteer days, or with a donation to their favorite charity—for introducing your hiring team to an individual that could be a good fit within your organization. The structure and communication around your referral program are important. Provide professional networking training to your employees to help them understand the makeup of their network and how to provide referrals. Then, make sure your employees are aware of open and upcoming positions.
To stand out among candidates and differentiate your organization throughout the hiring process, communicate the overall experience your organization offers your employees. These six methods will help attract best-fit talent that shares your company’s mission, vision, and values. When aligned, you will be positioned for growth and success.
This blog was authored by Viaduct’s Senior Talent Consultant John Jameson.
Hiring a dedicated sales executive is a big step for a startup. Choosing the wrong candidate can keep your new business from meeting sales goals and growth expectations. To help ensure you find a good fit for your business, we have compiled a list of interview questions targeted to a startup sales executive position.
Large established organizations can have sales executives that are more focused on one than the other. As a startup, you don’t have that luxury. The few sales executives that you hire need to be able to spend time cultivating current relationships and finding new clients equally well.
People often choose to do business with people they like and trust. This is what gets a sales executive in the door. Listen for signs of genuineness, empathy, and adaptability. If the sales candidate can’t communicate these traits to you during the interview, then he or she will not be able to convey them to your customers.
Good sales executives can connect the dots between the client’s business objectives, pain points, and the product or service they are selling. At the very least, the candidate should be reviewing their customers’ website and LinkedIn information. Facebook and Twitter can also be utilized to provide personal information that can help in relationship building.
When hiring a sales executive, it’s important to find a self-starter that is willing to take initiative. This is especially true for a startup organization! The candidate should be able to communicate some form of an action plan while demonstrating an interest in learning about your organization and how you currently operate.
This question gives you the ability to hear the candidate’s sales pitch at their current company. Listen for differentiators and how the sales executive leverages competitor information. How does he or she demonstrate and communicate value to the customer?
The candidate should be able to communicate the step-by-step process he or she used to close the sale. This will help you gauge his or her thought process using a real-life example. Listen for any challenges that had to be overcome to ensure success.
How did the candidate approach the difficult prospect? Conflict is inevitable—what matters most is how it’s managed. Listen for a clear explanation of the circumstances, the steps the candidate had to take to turn the situation around, and the results of these actions.
The target market of your business may be very different than the candidate’s previous sales position but this question will help you gauge the amount of effort put forth to keep up to date. Websites such as Built in Chicago, business development software like Talent Ticker, conferences, and webinars are good examples. As a follow-up question, ask about something specific the candidate has learned recently about their target market and the source of the information.
The right answer to this question will depend on your organization’s process and sales cycle. However, 80 percent of sales require five follow-up calls so the more persistent the executive, the better. There’s also no such thing as a 9-to-5 salesperson, so the right candidate needs to be available to their customers.
Walking away is never easy—especially after spending time and energy fostering a relationship with the client. Sales executives must have the ability to know when to walk away from a deal that’s not a good fit. Every minute wasted chasing a difficult or low-value deal is time that could have been spent closing a more profitable one. Listen for signs that the candidate doesn’t try to force every deal and can recognize when a client is a poor fit. Sometimes it makes sense to walk away from a current client. If your selling consulting services—how easy is the client to work with? Sometimes sales executives hold on to difficult clients at low rates rather than using that time to pursue better clients that are easier to work with at higher profit margins.
Early-stage companies need executives that are willing to help create the sales process and can deal with whatever is thrown their way. Sales executives are naturally persuasive and good communicators— so as the interviewer—it’s important to ask detailed questions to uncover the sales candidate’s personality and probe beyond memorized answers. Hiring a sales candidate that may look the part—but ultimately can’t perform the job—could be a very costly mistake for a startup.
The blog was written by Viaduct Senior Account Executive Roger Naglewski.
When you think of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, what comes to mind? You might think of people with innovative, outside-the-box ideas, coupled with that perfect combination of grit, charisma and idealism – the ones who are committed to making their visions a reality.
In practice, however, there’s much more to a successful entrepreneur than big dreams and a persistent attitude. The very best entrepreneurs, who build the most lucrative companies, are those who surround themselves with the most capable and enterprising teams who can execute and bring their ideas to fruition.
Of course, like so many aspects of building a business, finding the right people to round out your leadership team and staff is much easier said than done. That’s why we recently sat down with Peter Petrella and Carl Kutsmode with TalentRise, an Aleron company focused on executive search for emerging, high-growth companies, to talk about why and when startups should prioritize hiring as they start to secure more funding – and how to do it in the most effective way possible.
At what point should startup founders start to build out their leadership teams?
Some founders are thinking about their eventual workforce from day one, even before their product or service is fully realized. This isn’t all that surprising, since it’s not only a desire to build something from the ground up that motivates so many entrepreneurs; many are also inspired by the idea of creating jobs and elevating other talented individuals within their communities.
“As a best practice, founders should really start to build out their leadership teams once they’ve completed their series A or initial round of funding,” Petrella advises. “At this point, it’s time to start putting your big plans into action, and realistically, that’s going to require the efforts and brainpower of more than one or two visionaries.”
It’s during this critical time, when your first round of funding is hitting the bank, that founders should be especially careful about stretching themselves too thin or operating too far outside of their wheelhouse.
“Good leaders often wear many hats, but they’re also self-aware. Founders need to be cognizant of their own shortcomings and where additional leadership team members with complimentary skills are needed most,” Petrella adds.
To ensure you’re hiring the best person for the job, Kutsmode cautions against hiring close friends and family into key leadership roles without exploring a range of other qualified candidate options for comparison.
“At this crucial stage of the business, hiring a family member or friend who could potentially do the job, but may not work out, could unfortunately end that relationship both professionally and personally. These complications could make the eventual decision to part ways extremely difficult, even if it’s the best thing for the business long-term,” he says.
Why should founders focus on rounding out their leadership team before hiring individual contributors?
“Strong, competent leadership is the bedrock of any successful business, and startups are no exception,” Kutsmode says. “Leaders who are working to get early-stage companies up and running are doing a lot. They’re constantly shifting gears. There’s less time and bandwidth for hand-holding, delegating, and managing. Anyone you bring on at this stage should be a proven self-starter and understand what needs to be done to get from point A to point B. That’s what will keep things moving on the right trajectory.”
And when the time comes to hire people for those individual contributor roles, having this foundation – a team of multifaceted but specialized leaders – will give your team a better grasp of what to look for and how to manage your growing workforce.
For example, a chief product officer should be able to offer expertise when building out the software development team, while a vice president of marketing can offer insights into what the social media manager’s job description should look like to set up your digital marketing efforts for success.
“As your company grows, it’s critical to have leaders working with you who can hire, manage, and scale high performance teams,” Kutsmode adds. “That means thinking longer-term and identifying people who will bring value not just in the early stages of growth but also as your business really starts to take off.”
Where and how should founders start their hiring process?
Your leadership team should consist of people who can help you meet your investors’ expectations. To that end, founders should seek out peers who bring a wide range of experience and expertise. While you’ll all share the same vision, diversity of thought is critical to startup success, which might require you to look beyond your go-to contacts and existing network.
“Founders often default to their own personal connections – former colleagues, classmates, etc. – when they begin to build out their teams,” Petrella explains. “In some cases, your existing network may be a great place to start. But you should also actively look for people outside of that circle to ensure you’re finding the best possible candidates.”
And in terms of timing, building out your leadership team is certainly a top priority. But that doesn’t mean it should be done so quickly that quality is lost in the process.
“Rushing to hire can be a bad move for any business, but this is especially true in the startup environment when resources are limited and you may only have one shot at doing it right,” Kutsmode adds.
You can also always reach out to the team at Viaduct to help you find the right individuals at any level to grow your startup.
Your employer value proposition is what you offer prospective employees when they ask, “What’s in it for me?” A strong EVP should effectively communicate your company’s benefits, explain key elements of your corporate culture, and offer compelling reasons why workers should consider a job opportunity with your company.
If your organization is committed to attracting top talent, it’s time to enhance your employer value proposition. Here are some strategies on how you can entice quality job seekers to apply for a position through an effective EVP.
What is your EVP?
When formulating an EVP, companies need to ask themselves how they’d like to be perceived in the eyes of prospective employees. What elements of your organization do you want to promote? How is your company different from others in its industry? What factors make your business a great place to work? An EVP should contain a message that’s both persuasive and compelling yet succinct and to the point—one that can be used for recruiting AND marketing purposes.
Composing a well-written EVP
What should your company prioritize when composing your EVP? This statement should emphasize three main components of your organization:
(1) Your mission and purpose;
(2) Your long-term vision; and
(3) Your core company values
The key is to incorporate these three elements into your EVP without making the statement too long or unwieldy. Articulate the things that separate your organization from the rest of the pack—but try to remain brief with your description. A well-written EVP should be no longer than three or four sentences long.
Examples of exceptional EVPs
Here are a few examples of exceptionally written EVPs from some of the world’s most recognizable brands:
“Picture yourself at one of the world’s best places to work, surrounded by teams and people who challenge you, support you, and inspire you to be extraordinary. If you’re ready to do more than you think you can do, take a bold step toward Bain and we’ll walk that path with you.”
“At The Coca-Cola Company, we are a diverse, global community of people who thirst for more. With about 200 brands, a truly global footprint, and the opportunity to refresh the world, we offer more for your career. Together, we are growing and learning, building on our iconic past to make an impact.”
“Whether you’re in sales or stock, alterations or management, or are part of the behind-the-scenes glue that holds it all together, we’re all obsessed with serving our customers and oh, of course, fashion. Exciting and fast-paced, a career at Nordstrom means staying ahead of the trends, moving quickly, and being part of something we think is pretty awesome.”
“At Pfizer, we know that great things happen anywhere people come together with one shared goal. And the greatest rewards are sometimes where you least expect them. Join world-class scientists and leaders in all fields of healthcare and business who are dedicated to bringing therapies that will significantly improve patients’ lives. The future of medicine is happening at Pfizer.”
“Solve the next generation of engineering, manufacturing, and operational challenges as we work to secure a clean energy future. It doesn’t matter where you come from, where you went to school or what industry you’re in—if you’ve done exceptional work, join us to rethink the future of sustainable energy.”
Formulating a startup EVP
For startups and emerging businesses, a clearly articulated EVP is critical to attracting talent. It’s no secret that high-profile candidates are considering job opportunities with high-growth organizations as a viable employment option—just look at Prince Harry! An early-stage company with limited brand recognition in the local market must formulate an employer value proposition that highlights its differentiators. Because startup cultures tend to be more unique, fast-paced, and forward-thinking, these unconventional attributes are undoubtedly appealing for job seekers. Emphasize the elements that make working in a startup environment special to attract greater populations of job seekers.
Creating a compelling EVP takes time, effort, and considerable thought. After all, this statement will be prominently visible in the eyes of job seekers who are considering opportunities with your company, so it’s important to make sure this is an adequate representation of your organization. Integrate your EVP within your company’s website, careers page, and recruiting collateral to ensure your messaging and tone are consistent. Following these guidelines is imperative for success with your talent acquisition and recruiting initiatives.
Is your organization looking to hire talent quickly? Learn how startups can engage the candidates they need, when they need them.
Long Story Short:
Where did you grow up? Do you have Buffalo roots?
I grew up in the Southern Tier not far from Fredonia in a small town called Perrysburg. I’m an alum of Forestville High School, where I graduated with about 50 kids in my class. For college, I studied at Ithaca College, where I received my undergraduate degree in sports communications. During these years, I took advantage of great internships with the Boston Celtics, Buffalo Bills, and Buffalo Sabres. I loved my time in college and my exposure to such cool opportunities. Earlier this year, I completed my MBA with a concentration in business analytics from St. Bonaventure University.
Tell us a little bit about your professional background. How did you get into recruiting?
I began my journey in recruiting back in 2009 when I joined TEKsystems in their Rochester office. I had a lot of friends that worked at the company, so I figured it was a good place to work. Plus, I hoped to get more exposed to IT. This experience helped to lay the foundation of my recruiting career. I loved being able to help people evolve their careers and discover new jobs. It was an extremely gratifying opportunity for me.
After TEKsystems, I was in the process of moving back to the Buffalo area when a friend referred me to Crossfuze—known as Inergex at the time. I accepted a corporate recruiting job within the organization and stayed with the company for over seven and a half years, where I had the opportunity to shape its growing team and execute the recruiting function. This was another awesome experience that has helped to enhance my career as a recruiter. Even after leaving my full-time role at Crossfuze, I’ve been able to continue supporting the company’s growth through my independent business.
How did you find the opportunity at Viaduct?
I’ve always had an interest in the startup community, so when I saw that Viaduct was looking for a dedicated Talent Partner, the opportunity immediately piqued my interest. After connecting with Christian Gaddis, Pete Petrella, and Tom Hausler, I got to learn more about the job. These three helped me understand the overall goal of Viaduct and made the organization’s mission clear: to build a talent community for the startup world. I knew that there are so many employment opportunities available for candidates, so getting to interact with them on a daily basis felt like a dream come true.
What are your primary day-to-day responsibilities?
In my role, my primary goal is to support our 43North portfolio. I work hand-in-hand with Christian Gaddis and the rest of the 43North team to serve the portfolio wherever needed. Some days, I spend a lot of time working with companies like Strayos or Magnusmode—two organizations that don’t have a full-time talent acquisition resource—to act as an extension of their team. Other days, I’m dedicating my time to organizations like HiOperator or Kangarootime by helping them boost their talent efforts and attract better candidates. No two days are ever the same, and that’s one of the reasons why I enjoy this job so much.
What’s been your favorite part about moving back to Buffalo?
For me, Buffalo has always been super livable. You can do almost anything in Buffalo that you can do in other cities around the U.S. without having to deal with long lines or crazy wait times. It’s definitely got that “big city feel.” The quality of life here is so high and flies under the radar across the country. And being able to start my family in Western New York has been incredible. People really mean it when they say this is a great place to raise kids!
What excites you about the startup ecosystem?
I’ve really fallen in love with the startup community since I joined the team at Viaduct. People are always open to connect with you—they love watching each other succeed. In Buffalo, the startup ecosystem is tight-knit but also not exclusive—it’s for everyone. Forge Buffalo has been an integral cog in that wheel. By showing candidates that pursuing a job with an early-stage startup can be an incredibly worthwhile opportunity, we’re helping to grow the community. In my role, I can see firsthand the impact that making a connection can have on someone’s career. It’s the most rewarding feeling in the world knowing that you’ve helped positively influence a candidate’s long-term professional outlook.
How excited are you to work with the incoming 43North cohort?
I’m extremely excited about the incoming 43North cohort. There are so many innovative startups with creative ideas and diverse founders that are going to infiltrate the city of Buffalo. The breadth of products and services being offered is tremendous, and these startups have the potential to make a huge impact on the Western New York area. I’m really looking forward to supporting the growth and development of this cohort.
What do you want people to know about you?
I like to think of myself as an extremely accessible person. If anyone wants to talk about working at a startup, I’m always willing to grab a coffee and have a conversation. My goal is to show people just how viable a startup career can really be. I’m passionate about this community and willing to help anyone in need—all you’ve got to do is ask!
Interested in connecting with Chad to explore opportunities with Buffalo’s emerging startups? Shoot him a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Viaduct—a leading talent acquisition provider for startups and emerging businesses—recently welcomed Roger Naglewski as a Senior Account Executive. With nearly 15 years of comprehensive placement and recruitment experience, Naglewski will support Viaduct’s executive search business by further expanding the company’s brand into the Chicago market. His sales and business development prowess and intimate knowledge of the recruitment industry will be critical in connecting him with growth-stage companies.
“At Viaduct, we’re eager to expand our footprint throughout the United States—and Roger’s expertise and enthusiasm will be critical in helping us get there,” said Pete Petrella, Managing Director. “Roger’s previous placement experience in working with funded startups throughout the country aligns perfectly with our Viaduct mission. We’re glad to welcome him aboard to our growing organization.”
Naglewski has spent almost his entire career in the recruiting and talent acquisition sector. Based in downtown Chicago, he has specialized in recruiting and placing HR, finance, accounting, sales, marketing, and IT candidates for companies nationwide. Combining exceptional relationship-building abilities with an infectious and lively personality, Naglewski is well-equipped to connect and collaborate with high-growth startups to help service their comprehensive talent acquisition needs.
“I’m thrilled to be joining the team at Viaduct by helping to nurture growth-stage businesses,” said Naglewski. “The startup community needs a talent acquisition partner that can connect them with high-quality candidates—and Viaduct is well-positioned to provide this level of support.”
A lifelong Chicago native, Naglewski graduated from Loyola University Chicago with his degree in business accounting. He is also highly involved in the greater Chicago community and founded the Chicago Vaccine Hunters—a volunteer group to help senior Chicago residents obtain COVID-19 vaccines.