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!
Email firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
The 2014 Canadian Innovation Exchange (CIX) was incredibly inspiring, and we were happy to be involved as partners for the event.
We were in great company, among Canada's top tech entrepreneurs, investors, leading companies, and industry partners. It was standing room only for many sessions, with over 500 attendees. The highlight of the day were 5 minute presentations from each of the CIX Top 20. These represented Canada’s hottest innovators, and they did not disappoint!
Here are some key takeaways:
Diverse Technologies: We were amazed by the diversity of the top 20 companies, representing a wide variety of industries such as: medical, manufacturing, energy, imaging, advertising, hospitality and financial. There was a recurring theme around driving actionable insights with big data and analytics, along with a focus on machine learning and the Internet of Things. It was great to see solutions for more mature industries such as utilities and construction, typically not associated with innovation.
Wearables = the new “it” thing: This comes as no surprise, but there was a lot of buzz about wearables, with 3 unique companies represented: InteraXon, MightyCast and VitalSines. Keep your eye out for more wearables and richer applications.
BIGGER and more established: The CIX panelists discussed how, compared to prior years, these top companies had already reached big milestones. Not only were we impressed at the innovation, but also the customer acquisition, metrics and go-to-market plans that are well underway. Refreshing that innovation is being measured by commercialization and not just technical invention! WealthSimple, for example, is just 8-weeks old and already picking up a lot of traction for their disruptive investment management platform.
Waterloo representing: Alright, we are biased, but we loved hearing the overwhelming praise for Waterloo’s tech community - a reccurring theme throughout the day. Bridgit Inc, a local top 20 winner, represented well, pitching their mobile SaaS solution for managing deficiencies at construction sites.
The day was really about valuable one-on-one conversations and the partnerships, friendships and business opportunities that will continue to unfold after the event. Chris Arsenault, Managing Partner at iNovia Capital said it well, “It’s not about having a contact list, it’s about having relationships.”
Overall, there was great excitement for Canada’s growing tech community. It’s amazing what happens when you get that quality and quantity of talent and innovation in the same room. We’re looking forward to attending the event next year, and fully expect to be blown away!
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 and Leigh 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!
You were really good for me, but things have changed. I’ve changed.
I have to move on, and try new things. This will be best for everyone. You’ll see.
Break-ups are tough. And even though we’re talking about quitting a job, not leaving your lover, it can be a difficult and emotionally charged event.
Whether you're resigning from a big or a small company, the managers and colleagues who you leave behind can feel like they’ve been dumped. While you might be so focused on your future that you just want to pack up and move on, there are some good reasons to leave with tact and grace.
Your personal and professional reputation are always on display. How you handle your resignation is a major event that people will remember. Your industry and community are really not that big, so you'll likely need to work with some of these people again, as colleagues, partners, or customers. And let’s face it, this great new job won’t be your last, so someday you’ll need these managers and co-workers to give you a positive reference.
Here are a few tips on departing with dignity:
1. Save the hugs and high-fives for after hours.
You’re pretty excited about your new job, and your colleagues are asking questions. Do your best to avoid celebrating and openly discussing your joyous departure in earshot of fellow employees and leaders.
2. Focus on the positive
Whether in your resignation letter or conversations with leadership, explain your departure in terms of what you are moving towards, not what you’re moving away from. You may feel that you’re escaping an unpleasant workplace, but you’re talking to someone who has chosen to stay - or someone who owns the place. So be tactful.
If your boss was a big jerk, resist the urge to tell them to take the job and shove it.
3. Pre-empt the counter-offer
Unless you’re only leaving for the money (and if you are, why the heck didn’t you just ask for a raise!), explain that you’ve thought through all of your options and that you have no doubts. The compensation details of the new role need not be discussed. If you’ve presented your reasons as unrelated to compensation, you won’t have to go through the double-dumping of having to decline a counter-offer.
4. Don’t leave behind a mess
Part of the grief of an employee resignation is having to pick up their work and hope that nothing critical falls through the cracks. If you want to minimize the negative emotions around your departure, start planning for a clean exit well before you resign. Create lists of incomplete work and prepare sample plans for how to transition projects to other teammates. Tidy your inbox and files, so that no one has to decipher your filing system if they need to find a document or email.
If you know it’ll take more than 2 weeks to wrap up a critical project, offer to extend your notice period. They may not take you up on it, but it shows respect for your team and commitment to the ongoing success of the business.
5. Take the high road
I’ve heard stories of employers who become angry, resentful or even cruel towards an employee who has given her resignation - hell hath no fury like an employer scorned. If you’ve handled your resignation with tact, and been respectful towards your leaders and teammates, the response of an emotional leader is not something you can control. While there is no condoning this bad behaviour, you can maintain your composure.
When you leave your company, be mindful of their need to continue on effectively and happily in your absence. It might make you feel good to know you’re missed, but don’t burn a bridge. Starting a new job is exciting, and while quitting your old job isn't the highlight of your transition, it is an opportunity to display your integrity.
I grew up in Waterloo and have a great appreciation for our local tech community. I have a background in Marketing from Acadia University, and an MBA from Wilfrid Laurier University. I previously worked in Advertising in Toronto, and enjoyed the experience of collaborating with a number of clients from different industries such as pharmaceutical, retail, financial services, and not-for-profit.
What motivates me is helping others, and it is important for me to feel passionate about what I do. As a people person, eternal optimist, and a naturally curious individual, the executive search industry is a natural fit. I'm excited to be back in my hometown and see so many tech companies thriving. I come from a family of entrepreneurs and being able to play a role in helping companies grow and scale is extremely rewarding. Attracting top talent is so important to the development of our tech community.
I look forward to meeting the talented entrepreneurs and leaders in our community to assist in making connections and partnerships. Amazing things happen when these collisions take place, and I am excited to be a part of it.
In my spare time, I love to travel, spend time at my cottage, play tennis and volleyball, and host dinner parties. Over the next year I'll be in planning and Pinterest-mode as I'm getting married in the summer!
I'm excited to be the newest member of Artemis Canada and to begin my career as an Executive Recruiter. I’ve been part of the local tech community for more than 6 years, planning events and leading projects at D2L and BlackBerry.
When I first met Kristina to learn about Artemis Canada, I was instantly fascinated and inspired by the potential of the role and the company. I am looking forward to connecting passionate and skilled individuals with exciting new roles within exceptional companies.
During my personal time, I am the Co-Chair for planning the Ovarian Cancer Canada Walk of Hope and a board member of WINC Waterloo a women's entrepreneur group. I’m also an entrepreneur and run own my own event planning company, Elite Events by Design. In my spare time, I enjoy traveling, skiing and camping with my family.
I believe that I see recruiting in a way not shared by many.
Where most see an HR function, I see Sales and Marketing. Where many see their recruiting challenge as one of ‘Talent Acquisition’, I quite frankly don’t get that at all. Too many recruiting departments are designed like purchasing functions, where orders are filled, scarce skills are sourced, candidates are treated like commodities and talent is acquired for the lowest possible price.
Historically this made perfect sense. I am from a mining town. Decades ago, my grandfather and his peers would line up at the gates of the mine waiting to be chosen for work that day. The Foreman would walk out in the morning and select his workers for the day, making picks based on physical appearances – who looked strong and capable enough to get the job done. Labour was an abundant commodity, with plenty available to fill the order of the day. Personnel departments were designed around these economics, and were trained to be discriminating buyers of manpower.
Perhaps general employment stats would lead you to believe that we can still hire this way. “Post it and they will come.” Maybe this is true in some segments of the economy, but certainly not in tech, and definitely not for any company that needs the best people to succeed. When there are lots of great mines and few great miners, we have a problem. It's time to throw all of our thinking about Talent Acquisition out the window.
The fact of a skilled talent shortage isn’t news. So why then do so many companies behave like they have an unlimited supply of people and time? Are we so stuck in our ways that we can’t evolve from the commodity hiring mentality?
I think something else is going on…
There isn’t a people shortage, there is a talent shortage. Not the same thing. The problem isn’t that there aren’t enough resumes out there. It’s that most of them belong to people you shouldn’t hire. What if the wrong people apply to work for your company and you don’t keep them out! Yikes! It’s become the job of the recruiter to weed out the imposters and the time wasters that want to sit quietly and take a pay cheque! Hiring is risky business, because making a mistake is expensive. If you hire no one and blame the talent shortage, isn’t that better than hiring a room full of potential misfits?
We have 2 problems that are in opposition.
The wrong people want to work for you The right people don’t know you exist
Look at these 2 problems and choose the one you’d solve. Most will chose the one that avoids risk rather than the one with the big upside. So a recruiting function is built to address the question of RISK, and it puts process, tools and rules in place to weed out the potential cultural misfits, technical lightweights and the unwashed masses. In fact, almost every HR person is trained to reduce costs and eliminate risk, and will focus on NOT hiring the wrong guy. If you look for imperfection, you will find it almost every time.
I say it’s time we start working from a different set of assumptions. Think of what would happen if you recruited like a sales team. Of course, qualifying people is a critical part of the process, but focus your recruiting energy on attracting and bringing in the best, then expect greatness from the people you hire. Rather than looking for a perfect fit for your culture, you create a culture that is designed for the most talented people; that inspires their best work and accommodates their harmless imperfections. Accept that you’ll fail a few times before you get it just right. But in the process you’ll unearth hidden gems and build an environment that perpetuates success.
We are a boutique executive search firm exclusively serving Canada’s Innovation Economy.
Our partners are the inventors, builders and leaders who are changing our world, enriching the lives of their teams, strengthening their communities and delivering valuable innovations to global marketplaces.
"I have worked closely with Kristina for approximately 15 years, reaching out to her whenever we are searching for the hardest to find skills. She understands the industry, she’s smart, she listens to exactly what we need, and she never wastes our time. Kristina, and the Artemis team, deliver time and time again. When we need an external recruiter, I find it hard to work with anyone else!"
Pete Devenyi, VP Global Software