Strong Suit does just one thing:

Build Rockstar top-teams

for Chicago’s

VC & PE companies

  • Recruit: find, assess, and close VP-level Rockstars
  • Assess: vet current & potential VP’s to ensure each is a Rockstar
  • Advise: serve as CEO’s “talent whisperer” by mentoring on recruiting, culture, & leadership

“To recruit a rockstar executive for our fast-growing company, I looked at all the search firms. Strong Suit was the obvious choice. Jeff identified, vetted, and landed the perfect candidate in record time. Without him, I don’t know where we’d be. When it comes to talent, Strong Suit is the best investment I’ve made.”

Nick Wernimont, CEO

VC & PE Companies Have Unique Challenges

I’ve been in your shoes. Because I’ve started & run 5 companies, and raised $55M from VC & PE firms, I get it. Your investors are watching. The pressure’s on. Your partners expect you to hit your numbers, launch new products, and dominate the market. You simply can’t without the right people on your team. Building a team of Rockstars is your #1 job. Get it right & the rest takes care of itself.
LET'S TALK

The 8 Immutable Truths of Talent for VC & PE Companies

1. People are the ultimate competitive differentiation

Creating a culture that draws in talent is the only way to stay ahead for the long term.

2. There is no such thing as a perfect candidate

You’ll be waiting forever. Instead, identify the must-have competencies & never settle.

3. Recruiting is sales & marketing, not human resources

It’s all about the funnel. First, plug the leaks. Then, fill the funnel.

4.You must give top-performers a reason to listen

Rockstars have never had more options. You need to create a compelling employer value proposition.

5. Recruiting must be based on things that are predictive of success

DNA is far more predictive than experience, education, or personality.

6. A top-performer at one company is not always a top-performer at another

There are no shortcuts, even if they worked at your competitor.

7. Using your “gut” in recruiting is right 50% of the time

But which 50%? Trust the process, and increase your accuracy to 90% or more.

8. To build a successful business, winning the war for talent must be your #1 priority

You must invest at least 30% of your time on recruiting & retention.

“Jeff has recruited rockstars & built winning growth cultures for 20 years.”

Brad Feld, Managing Director

Smart VC & PE Companies Use Proven Predictors of Candidate Success

DNA: characteristics that are hard-wired at a young age & rarely change

  • Driven & motivated to achieve: fire that burns bright
  • Curious: asks questions & wants to learn
  • Resilient: tenacious, overcomes obstacles, & finds solutions
  • Conscientious: goal-oriented, self-disciplined, dependable
  • Cognitive ability: capacity to learn & change approach
  • Flexible: iterates & adjusts approach based on new information
  • Humble: low ego, puts team first
  • Hungry: never satisfied, wants to do better & take on more
  • People smart: understands how to work with a team; what to (not) say & how

Structured interview: dig into experience & probe deeply to assess veracity of the stories & thought process

  • Track record of achievements in previous situations with a comparable level of complexity & resources
  • Track record of promotions
  • Success working in companies of comparable size
  • Was assigned to the most challenging tasks

Fit

  • With the company’s Culture
  • With the role
  • With the hiring manager
  • With the team

Raving References from former managers

“Smart entrepreneurs listen to Jeff. When it comes to startup recruiting, he’s a whiz.”

David Cohen, Managing Partner

LET'S TALK

Different From Traditional Chicago Executive Recruiters

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WALKED IN YOUR SHOES

Because I’ve started 5 companies, I understand your needs, constraints, and pressures better than lifelong-recruiters. I hate bad hires as much as you do.

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MOVE QUICKLY

Your search receives my full attention because I accept only 2 clients at a time.

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FOLLOW A PROCESS

Your search shouldn’t be haphazard. I even wrote a book & host a podcast on how to unearth Rockstar candidates.

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DIG DEEP

You’ll see candidates that you wouldn’t uncover on your own, thanks to 20 years working with growth companies.

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VALUE YOUR TIME

You won’t waste time interviewing less-than-Rockstar candidates because they don’t make it through our vetting process.

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FOCUS ON LONG-TERM

Because candidate DNA & fit are far more predictive than work experience, that’s the first thing we assess.

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NO BAIT & SWITCH

I personally do all the interviewing, vetting, referencing. You work with me, not a newbie Associate.

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SPECIALIZE IN JUST ONE THING

I build rockstar top-teams for Chicago’s VC & PE companies. Not all Chicago executive recruiters can claim these results!

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BE TRANSPARENT

You’ll get a weekly update on all candidates, so you know where things stand.

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ALIGN OUR INTERESTS

You’ll love our fee structure that busts Executive Search Industry rules.

“I’ve worked with Jeff on two occasions. It seems like he knows everyone – executives and investors alike. He’s one of those rare people that has both a high IQ and high EQ. Jeff is incredibly insightful, and always tells it like it is. Any executive would be lucky to benefit from his wisdom.”

Mandy Pekin, CMO

Why Do I

Build Rockstar Teams?

Because I love this stuff

  • Since starting my first business at age 13, I’ve been a champion of entrepreneurs & building growth companies. I may be odd, but it just turns me on.
  • Along the way, I’ve learned that the only way to build a durable company that creates massive value is to recruit Rockstars into every position. Without exception.
  • Because recruiting Rockstars is the thing that matters most, I have the ability to scale companies through my recruiting work.

How I got here

  • Pioneer in the recruiting field for 20 years
  • 5-time entrepreneur hired 3,000 professionals using the proprietary method that became Strong Suit Certified
  • Author of The Ultimate Guide to Hiring Growth Rockstars
  • Host of 5-star Strong Suit Podcast in iTunes Store
  • Trained at Heidrick & Struggles and Spencer Stuart, the world’s top 2 retained executive search firms
  • CEO-in-Residence, Sterling Partners $6B Chicago PE firm
  • Raised $55M in venture capital
  • Chairman, Chicago-based VC-funded Retrofit
  • Named “The Matchmaker” by Inc. Magazine
  • Kellogg MBA & Wharton BS degrees

“Jeff built the Sales & Marketing teams for our high-growth PE-funded company. We beat our numbers, in no small part thanks to the rockstars that Jeff recruited. Because his talent standards are insanely-high, you can sleep at night knowing that the team will deliver.”

Ancelmo Lopes, Former CEO

Our Recruiting Process Delivers 3 Finalists So Good, You’ll Have A Tough Time Choosing One

Strong Suit – one of the best Chicago Executive Recruiters

  • Compelling job value proposition

  • Prioritize DNA over experience

  • Personal networking

  • Predictive interview questions

  • Reference before the offer

  • Real-world test drive

  • Get the Yes by avoiding surprises

Traditional Recruiters

  • Canned job description

  • Prioritize experience over DNA

  • Spray and pray

  • B.S. interview questions

  • Reference after the offer

  • Hope the candidate accepts

  • Hope they deliver

“Jeff has been instrumental at every turn. His experience in leadership and growing a business has helped me avoid so many pitfalls. We’re fortunate to have him on our side.”

Arnav Dalmia, CEO

Our Fee Structure Aligns Our Interests

22% of first-year compensation

  • 1/3 less expensive than traditional executive search firms.

We put one-half of our fee at-risk (not just one-third)

  • 1/2 invoiced when you sign us. 1/2 invoiced when you sign the candidate.

$5K speed bonus if your candidate signs within 60 days

  • We’re incented to hustle.

Strong Suit Certified

  • 12 month guarantee.

“Jeff’s recruiting standards are exceptionally high. When he vets a candidate, he has the unique ability to assess their fit, motivations, and gaps…not just work experience. I trust his judgement implicitly when it comes to attracting rockstars to our rapidly-growing company.”

Prasanthi Gandhi, CEO

The time has come to get started.

Build a Rockstar Top-Team