Do you ever wonder how some people just seem to attract all the “plum” opportunities? Well today, I am going to pull back the curtain on just how these people attract the right opportunities.
I sat down with my colleague, Howie Schnuer, CMO and Vice President/General Manager, Small & Medium Enterprises at TSI, to talk about how he landed his most recent position.
In Howie’s words, he says he’s just been lucky in combination with making the right choices. I say he’s been lucky by design. Let me know what you think after you read an edited version of our conversation:
Michelle Robin: How did you find out about this opportunity?
Howie Schnuer: Prior to this role, I was at Infogroup heading up the marketing for the small and medium business division. And I was happy, content, and comfortable. Then I got an email from a recruiter about this position, which did look interesting. But as I said, I was really happy so I hit the delete button. Next, I got another email from the recruiter, and another and another. So by the fourth or fifth email I said, okay, let’s talk.
Robin: So what do you think made the recruiter keep pursuing you?
Schnuer: I suppose he liked how my career progressed. I had kept moving up and also had a lot of variety in my experience. I wasn’t just doing one type of marketing or one type of sales. I had worked in big corporations like W.W. Grainger and small startups like Restaurant.com.
Robin: Since you weren’t actively looking for a job at the time, did you even have an updated resume?
Schnuer: Funny you ask. It wasn’t updated for presentation, but that is actually one of the things I always do. I keep bullet points of what I have recently accomplished so I have the notes right there when it comes time to update it. I would love to have had the time to have it professionally done, but this wasn’t one of those times.
Robin: And then how did you decide this was going to be the right move for you?
Schnuer: That was the hard part because I was at a job I truly enjoyed. In the end, it came down to being a really good match of my experience and what they were looking for. It was an opportunity for me to just focus on building a sales channel and enhancing the sales operations division, initially, and that was exciting. Plus, it didn’t hurt that it was going to be a 15-minute commute versus working from home and traveling a lot.
Robin: Once you started, what did you do to ensure you made an immediate impact on the business?
Schnuer: You know, I had never done a true 90-day plan before this role, but when I got here that is exactly what I did. I just dug in and saw a lot of low-hanging fruit. After 30 days I started digging deeper, created new objectives and focused on getting results. My team is really great and today we are continuing to do the same thing, digging in and making things happen.
Robin: Your original role expanded to include CMO duties after only six months. How did that happen?
Schnuer: Like I just mentioned my team and I started seeing some initial results pretty fast. The positive movement was something they had not seen in quite some time in the SME division. The CEO who I interviewed with and continued to have regular interactions with approached me and said this opportunity is available, would you be interested? Of course, I said yes. And because they were seeing such great results they wanted me to continue in my current role and also take on the CMO role.
Robin: Okay, so what advice do you have for marketing professionals embarking on an executive-level search? Do you think it differs from looking for any other role?
Schnuer: That’s a tough question to answer for me, because I didn’t embark. It just kind of happened.
But, I think one thing that is really important is to always have a great network. A network that you can pick up the phone and call with a question or ask for support. It’s important because a lot of jobs will come out of this – ones that are not even posted, the hidden job market.