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Q. When you’re looking for big shoes to fill in upper management, where’s the best place to start?
1. Ask people you know
If you’ve been in the business for a while, then I would start looking for a person to hire by speaking to people you know. You want to hire a person who has a lot of experience, and relevant experience too. Have a clear idea of what you want and need, and then reach out to your immediate network and tell them what kind of person you’re looking for. -- Zev Herman, Superior Lighting
2. Talk with your angel investors
I've found that angel investors are often interested in coming in and filling these shoes, having most often served at this level in past work experience. If they can't do it, they often know someone that would fit the role. -- Peter Daisyme, Due
3. Speak with your mentors
When looking to fill upper management positions, try consulting with your mentors first. More often than not, their Rolodex and contact list will reach to places and individuals that you cannot. After communicating your vision and the perfect candidate to them, ask if they know of anyone interested or other resources you should be utilizing during the search process. -- Kim Kaupe, ZinePak
4. Get your team to help
For almost any senior role, especially at a small business, there are thousands of local candidates who fit the "skills" requirement. The hardest challenge with hiring for a senior person is making sure she fits the culture and makes the company stronger. Your existing colleagues know the business and want it to thrive. And they're the most invested in bringing in someone great. -- Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches
5. Send personal emails to your network
Over time, I’ve developed a large group of successful friends that I’ve met organically and through different entrepreneurial communities I belong to. These friends also have networks of smart, successful people. Whenever I’m looking to fill a position, I send a personalized email to each person I want to tap. It’s how we’ve filled every upper management position in my company. -- Mark Krassner, Expectful
6. If It's practical, start internally
If you have mid-level managers who you think will be ready to step up, start grooming them for the part as soon as possible. You can open the position internally and interview from within, if your organization is large enough. Internal hires know exactly what they are inheriting. They will understand the vision and the direction and will be highly motivated by the new role. It also boosts morale. -- Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now
7. Look for companies you admire
When you are hiring someone to fill a crucial upper management role, trade up. Look at directors or vice presidents in larger companies and poach them. Many corporate execs would be more than happy to escape their stuffy desk jobs in order to work at a fledgling startup, where they can bring their decades of experience and contacts to an organization where they can have a major impact on its long-term success. -- Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep
8. Check out Linkedin
Linkedin is a great tool when seeking and connecting with people who normally would not have existed in our "inner circle" or within our own organization. This is a primary channel for us when it comes to reaching out and finding talent for upper management. However, we always look within our own company before going to Linkedin. -- Jacob Tanur, Click Play Films
9. Visit with people at conferences
Conferences offer a comfortable environment to talk and meet prospects to see if there is any interest. They are in the industry and are there as thought leaders. They might be considering switching companies, so this is a great place to find them and feel them out. -- Zach Binder, Ipseity Inc
10. Hire your competition
I've always said, "keep your competitors close." The reason is twofold. First, maintaining relationships with competitors positions your company for future strategic opportunities, including an acquisition. Second, maintaining a healthy relationship allows for an occasional swap of top talent. Of course, you can also get yourself in trouble poaching employees, so cross all your t's, first. -- Kristopher Jones, LSEO.com