Does anyone have a retained search firm for a VP of engineering they love?
I have a few. What stage?
VP engineering = report to CEO or report to CTO?
Great question, @Felipe ! Probably reporting to (cofounder) CTO though anything can be discussed. Looking for lead manager if engineering to get us from ~25 engineers to 50+. CTO can be chief architect and technical vision.
Not directly an answer, but this post has great insights on hiring a VPE.
@ Karan that article you shared was outstanding and gives us a lot to think through. I really appreciate your sharing it.
- Hiring someone to run at engineering at the 20-40 stage, ideally that person can take the team to at least 200. If you want that caliber of person, direct report to CEO is going to get you access to a different caliber of candidate. For example, my friend joined a company at 40 engineers after being a director of engineering at PayPal and 6 years later the company IPO’d, Eng team is 1200+, company is 15B+., and he’s still leading engineering. That’s the caliber of folks you can find with the right mission at this stage, but not reporting to the CEO will be a meaningful barrier.
- More than the firm, if comes down to the recruiter. There are a few I really like who focus at this stage: Sam Wilkins at Erevena, Rick Harris at True, Laura Kinder at Daversa. Riveria partners is also well know for their cto practice, but I’ve never worked directly with them.
- Virtually every VC firm has a talent person. These folks specifically meet people in the industry (typically BigTech ppl looking for their first cto/cpo gig) who are on their roster. Definitely explore here first as it’s free vs $150-250k that a search will cost you.
I can make intros to any of the recruiters I mentioned, just send me a DM.
Daversa and Riviera are who I’ve always used or seen used.
+1 on Riviera. As a candidate, I worked with a ton of executive search firms— most of which were awful and would sling any and all Head of Product roles my way. Riviera was by far the best in terms of candidate experience, guiding the process, and actually being thoughtful about matching candidates with opportunities.
From the candidate perspective, it makes a HUGE difference to talk to a recruiter who asks all the right questions vs. many of the exec recruiters I talked to who clearly didn’t know the industry or understand my role.
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