Career Development

Recruitment of a CMO in a startup

A large part of our activity is supporting startups and scale-ups in the recruitment of C-Level profiles and Head of. Indeed, many companies ask us for these strategic positions within their management.

We will see in this article a concrete case of recruitment of a Chief Marketing Officerwhich has the particularity of having been closed almost in the week following the launch of the mission!


The context of the startup in question

As an introduction, let’s start by presenting the startup that is asking us with some key information:

A priori, we are therefore in a rather attractive company on paper for candidates. It operates in a sector that generally generates a lot of spontaneous applications. Furthermore, the fact that it has just closed a fundraising exercise demonstrates a certain assurance for future candidates who would apply for a job offer.

Taking into account the attractiveness of the company, why is this client asking us? 🤔

Until now, he has been able to recruit the main members of his team thanks to job advertisements posted on the main job boards (Linkedin and WTTJ). For this position, the client considered that his pipe was insufficient and not adapted to his expectations (see next section).


Framing the need for the CMO position

Following his request, here is the description of the main expectations for the recruitment of the position of Chief Marketing Officer:

  • SKILLS : Ability to define a Marketing strategy
  • Experience : Notable career in Tech, in startup. Number of years of experience
  • Marketing team: Currently, there are no marketing teams. Recruitments are planned after the arrival of the candidate who must have already managed 2/3 people
  • Budget : Between 60 and 80 k€ + BSPCE
  • Location : Paris (no full remote possible)

Our contact, CEO of the startup, is waiting for a knowledgeable profile on all subjects. To reassure himself in his recruitment, he will need to see recognized references from French startups.


From our experience of recruitment of Chief Marketing Officer in startups, the main questions that allowed us to refine the need:


Between the two main dimensions of Marketing (Brand & Communications VS Growth & Acquisition), what is the main axis to favor for research?

The profile must mainly have the skills associated with the acquisition. In addition, it must be Data and Analytics oriented


Are we looking for a profile that has evolved into B2B or B2C?

Both options are open since the marketing strategy is to be defined. The solution is sold B2B but is used by company employees (like the Alan, Swile and Payfit tools for example!)

This will involve defining whether the marketing strategy will be to address potential customers with B2C communication (Swile approach) or B2B (Payfit / Alan approach)


Regarding remuneration, it seemed consistent with our benchmark on startup salaries In France.


Candidate sourcing strategy

The main lessons for our research:

  • Look for fairly Hands-On Marketing profiles, who will not be too high level to be able to “do” and, at the same time, structure a team from scratch
  • The ability to have a strategic vision
  • The criterion of having evolved in a startup / scale-up


Two possibilities are available to us:

  • A profile that occupies a position of Head of Marketing / Chief Marketing Officer in a startup of similar size (between 20 and 50 employees), who manages a team of less than 5 people
  • A profile having evolved within a scale-up, in Middle Management positions such as Growth ManagerHead of Growth, Marketing Manager... This track seems to be the one favored by our client


What approach messages?

To attract candidates, in a fairly traditional way, we have chosen to highlight:

  • The startup and its sector of activity
  • The position and missions (Chief Marketing Officer)
  • The salary that is in line with the market


Result of the recruitment mission

To give some figures on the mission, following our hunt we selected a total list of 8 candidates. On this list of candidates, only one candidate really caught the attention of our client and was particularly above the rest.

We had identified her through research and had been in contact with her for around 9 months.

Description of his profile:

  • Experience : 4 years of experience
  • Current position : Currently in a CMO position in a startup with 40 employees where she manages 4 people
  • SKILLS : Pronounced expertise in lead acquisition and generation
  • Its strong point: She works in a startup in the corporate wellness sector, with strong similarities in customer acquisition and communication strategy

Thus, our startup approach and network allowed us to quickly identify a profile that matched the challenges of the position. Although the candidate did not work within a scale-up, her skills and experience were enough to convince the client.


The icing on the cake was that it was presented to our client 3 hours after the launch of the mission (Licorne Society Record ⚡⚡⚡)


Record to beat? Do not hesitate to contact our Recruiting service !

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