With the release of the new RIM/Blackberry tell-all Losing the Signal,
the Canadian tech community is abuzz with chatter about the spectacular downfall of the local tech giant.
As your company moves from start-up to scale-up, from a handful of people to a few dozen, lots of things will start to shift. There will come a time (which will be sooner than you think) where you need to decide on the best leadership structure to successfully grow. You're not alone. This is one of the biggest challenges startups face.
Compiled from several searches over the course of 2014, our VP Software Engineering snapshot represents candidate salaries from Kitchener-Waterloo, Toronto, London and Ottawa.
Candidates were working in various segments of the software industry including Enterprise, Saas (enterprise and consumer), Infrastructure/Network, B2C Web, Gaming and Telecom.
The scope of responsibility for a VP of Engineering is a key driver of compensation. Those with responsibility for building a team, leading a larger organization, or overseeing development of significantly complex or highly profitable products typically were at the higher end of the scale.
Getting to the Top
The best VPs of Engineering have a unique blend of high level technical competence, and the ability to lead very effective teams. They have vision, and can attract the most talented engineers, often building lean teams of top performers who have been loyal to their leader in more than one organization. They don't compromise on quality or execution and have a track record of delivering great products, on schedule.
Want to know more about our Salary Snapshots? Here is a little summary and some disclaimers. Show me the Money - 2014 Salary Snapshots
At Artemis Canada, we have the privledge and opportunity to work on some exciting executive recruitment assignments with top tech companies in Waterloo and Toronto.
Through this work we talked to hundreds of tech executives and professionals about their experience, their aspirations, their motivations … and their salaries.
We’ve pulled this salary data together, scrubbed out any personal detail and packaged it up in Salary Snapshots to share with you.
But first! What would a report be without a few disclaimers...
1. Each Salary Snapshot represents between 15 - 50 sources.
2. Each source is a individual who we deemed a possible top candidate for a specific search. Most are gainfully employed and many were recommended as exceptionally talented. As a result, our salary numbers might be skewed towards the top of the range.
3. We elected not to show compensation figures related to equity or options. Though this was a significant aspect of the comp package for many execs, it's often tough to put an annual $ value on equity.
4. Specific details that would identify an individual or their employer will not be shared for obvious reasons.
Click on the Salary Snapshots below for salary graphs and summaries:
Salary Snapshot 3: Director, User Experience (coming soon)
If you have questions or concerns about any of the data in the snapshot, or about how we gathered this info, please email me - email@example.com
The secret to building an all-star team? Lead with your strengths.
What are your top 5 strengths? When you hire do you look to compliment them?
On March 25th Artemis Canada is hosting a breakfast workshop to help tech leaders discover how to leverage their natural talents when hiring and managing a team. We will explore the benefits of using a strengths-based approach to understand your unique skills to be able to build a team more effectively.
To help us, we’re bringing in Omer Aziz- an expert in strengths-based development with over 25 years of tech experience in business operations and human resources.
How can you find your top 5 strengths? Participants will complete the Gallup StrengthsFinder assessment prior to the workshop so we can debrief on findings, and use the results to drive insights into building individualized plans for personal growth and leadership strategies.
Sound like fun? The event is invite only... but let us know if you are interested and we’ll try to squeeze you in!
for more details. Otherwise, stay tuned for more workshops to come!
You’re excited to get an offer for a great role with an exciting company, but what about the legal docs that you have to sign? Should you see a lawyer? Will that make you seem like you don’t trust your new employer, or that you’re not excited to join the team?
Like a prenuptial agreement, many people are worried about destroying the romance of an exciting new career by dwelling on the terms of an eventual break-up.
Most smart companies, while they are thrilled at the potential you bring as a new team member, are cautious about what might happen if and when your employment arrangement comes to an end. They want to protect their IP, their employees and their customer relationships. As a result, you are likely required to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (don’t steal our IP), a Non-Solicit (don’t steal our staff or our customers) and a Non-Compete (don’t take our ideas and customers to a competitor).
The simple advice is this - if you are concerned, talk to a lawyer before you sign. Your future employer will not flinch if you ask for a couple of days to run the docs past a lawyer so that you can understand what you’re signing. I think that there may be secret lawyer awards for who can make these docs sound most confusing and daunting - so don’t feel like a dummy if you need a translator.
Now that you know what you’re signing, you can decide if any of the terms are deal breakers. But know that few companies will agree to make changes to these standard docs if you have issues. It will require them to go back their own lawyers to review and approve changes. I’ve seen it happen with key executive hires, but rarely for individuals farther down the org chart. So you may need to make a compromise, but at least your eyes are open.
I'm going to let you in on a little secret. It's the thing that makes a great recruitment message stand out, and that defines a great recruiter. It's really simple. Maybe a little too simple. It's enthusiasm.
Maybe we just have the luxury of working with companies that are worthy of excitement. With innovative and fast moving companies, each new hire makes a critical contribution. When we start a new search and talk about a new role, it is impossible to not get excited.
This is not tail wagging, squirmy puppy excitement. It's genuine, authentic enthusiasm. It permeates everything you do and everything you say, and it needs to be real.
Here is what enthusiasm looks like:
1. The Company is Excitement-Worthy
Are you doing something that is truly innovative? Are your leaders extraordinary? Is the mission inspirational?
Your recruitment message needs to convey this, tangibly and credibly.
2. The Role is Critical
If you don't really NEED to hire someone to do this job, why are you bothering? Tell me why my impact will be key to your success. If the influence will be minimal and the contribution small, I won't be excited to join the team.
Your actions will tell me as much as your words. Act with urgency and you send a clear message that you are on a mission to find someone who will play an important role in your success.
3. You are Equally Excited about the Candidate
Tell me why you think I might be ideally suited to this role. A good poker player might tell you not to give up power in the process by telling your candidate why you love them. But it is possible to tell me how great I might be on your team, while at the same time determining whether I am the right fit. If you act with indifference towards me, I will most certainly lose interest and find an employer who will recognize me for all of the wonderful things I can deliver.
These three things should be the outline for how you write a job description and how you recruit someone at a networking event. One thing is certain, if you get the enthusiasm factor right, it will have a measurable impact on who you recruit and who you become as a company.
If you’re an entrepreneur raising capital, you hear it all the time:
people invest in your story, not your company.
Successful new CEOs seem to share an ability to share their story and engage an audience. They often have a personal tale of confronting an obstacle or needing a service that was unavailable - so they built a company to solve the problem and meet their own need. They weave a story of a big market with important problems, then explain their brilliant and innovative solutions.
And while the founding team and advisors are usually seduced with the same compelling narrative, the pitch weary CEO sometimes forgets that their story-telling skills are still needed once the money is raised.
Scaling an organization and hiring great engineers, product leaders, revenue generators and functional experts requires a incredible story. Where investors might be lining up, hoping to hear a tale of the next game-changer, your future team are busy in their current jobs. Recruiting messages just sound like noisy distractions.
Your story has to capture the hearts and imagination of this audience. You’re not asking someone to write a cheque, or risk a small percentage of their venture fund. You’re asking them to jump out of their current role and put their career in your hands.
The good news? You already have a great story, and this is where you start.
The most compelling recruiting message will sound like the plotline of a great adventure story. It will begin with the founding team, a description of genuine characters and the problems they set out to solve. As your story unfolds, the team comes together to tackle the beast of a problem, with technology and a little magic. Your narrative will highlight the battles won and challenges faced along the path. And then it will pause.
The time in the story is now and the next scene requires a key character. This hero will take the company through bigger battles, over greater obstacles and onto incredible rewards. And so, the question lingers “Could you be this hero?"
Your recruiting challenge as a leader goes beyond seeking out great people and delivering a pitch. You need to build a league of storytellers. You need to ensure that your recruiters, managers and partners all know the plot, the characters, the mission and the immediate challenges. They should know how to identify your heroes, and how to inspire them to drop what they’re doing and join your crusade.
Somehow a year has already flown by and Artemis Canada is a year old.
We’ve had an incredibly successful first year - beyond my most optimistic projections!
This year has taken us into exciting new domains, with clients in gaming, medical devices, mobile payments, eCommerce platforms, enterprise Saas, network security, and industrial automation. We’ve had the privilege of introducing game changing executives, strategic business leaders and brilliant technical minds into companies that will change the way we work and live.
With hundreds of thriving technology businesses and start-ups, the Kitchener-Waterloo technology community has been an ideal place to build the foundation for Artemis Canada. Tech leaders and investors, both in KW and from the GTA and US, have welcomed us as partners, introducing us into incredibly innovative organizations that are prime for growth. We are proud to work with some of the Canada’s most exciting tech companies and are exploring growth opportunities that will take us into new markets.
This past summer we moved into our new offices at 187 King Street S (above Vincenzo’s
and The Bauer Kitchen
), where we share space with the talented and entertaining Boltmade
crew. We also grew the team and welcomed Steph
to Artemis Canada. With their combined talent and efforts, I’m beyond excited about where the future will take us.
Thanks to my team, my family, my clients and my community for an incredible year. Stay tuned for the awesome things to come in Year 2!