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Meet the Recruiter: Patrick Corcoran

March 26, 2024

We sat down with Patrick Corcoran, an Executive Search Partner on the Bolster team, to discuss how he thinks about search. Patrick has a background of 6+ years in executive search, with a strong specialization in GTM roles. He brings a depth of experience partnering with B2B/software founders and early and growth-stage VC-backed startups.

Bolster: Why is traditional search broken?

Patrick: How long do you have? Traditional search is a half-century-old process reliant on rolodexes and modern technologies like… email and PDFs?

Joking aside—speaking from firsthand experience—as the industry scaled to meet demand, traditional firms have dedicated more time and energy to teaching search professionals sales tactics than the best practices of recruiting and being a partner to clients. The reality is companies of all stages, but particularly startups and scaleups, do NOT engage with executive talent on a binary (hire someone full-time or do nothing at all). There is a broad spectrum of flexible, on-demand work in the middle—however, oftentimes, founders are not certain what they need and can benefit from an experienced partner to listen and prescribe the right solution at the right time. Traditional search is ill-equipped to flex to those needs—with this mismatch naturally arises the tendency to fit a square peg into a round hole. To no one’s surprise, this has contributed to the “mixed” (I'm being generous) reputation that most traditional search firms carry today.

Bolster was built by startup operators, for startup operators, to address the full spectrum of talent needs that growing companies encounter. Candidly speaking, that is the best part of my job—having the ability to listen to clients, understand their needs, and be flexible in recommending the right solution to help them scale their teams and business.

B: How do you think about finding the perfect candidates for a position?

C: For me, in any hiring process, you have to start with the “WHY.” Why do you need to make this hire? What business problems will this person be uniquely qualified to address for your organization? Be very deliberate and specific about the business challenges you are seeking to solve. The search industry writ large has abandoned this first principles approach over the past few years (talk about ZIRP!) as more work gets passed down to more junior recruiters who only know how to logo hunt for shiny pennies… 

For me, it all starts with clearly articulating the unique value proposition of this leadership role, then working backward to pattern match to necessary experiences, skill sets, and attributes. That is how I have always sought to find the best candidate possible, and how proper partnership in exec search sets up entrepreneurs and startups for sustainable success. 

B: Complete this sentence - “Reach out to me if…”

C: You're grappling with talent challenges within your GTM functions. It’s no secret that many B2B/software startups have questioned whether they have the right leaders in place over the past few years, in particular in the face of macro headwinds. Whether you have immediate full-time needs, need help with on-demand matches, or could use an unbiased sounding board to determine the right path forward—you can leverage Bolster (and me) as an extension of your team’s talent efforts.

Bolster combines the power of experienced recruiters (like Patrick) with our unique, AI-driven platform to surface the best candidates and deliver a superior executive search experience. We’d love to support your search. Book a time to chat with Patrick or another member of our team