After a record-setting growth year in 2021, followed abruptly by today’s more fearful markets and hiring environment, investors and companies alike are recalibrating and trying to determine how best to allocate their resources. This includes identifying executive leaders that are well-equipped to navigate today’s uncertainties — and opportunities.
Below are the prevailing themes that we’re observing in today’s recruiting environment, with a particular focus on engineering and product talent.
Recruiting & Technical Talent | Themes & observations from 1H2022
#1 | Demand and competition for CTOs, VPs of Engineering, and Product leaders remains fierce — despite 2022’s volatility.
- Why? Companies that are well positioned and well financed, particularly early to mid stage ones that are standouts in the market, are viewing this period as an opportunity to upgrade their technical leadership teams.
#2 | Yes, there have been layoffs, but — that doesn’t mean more tier 1 candidates are actively on the market.
- Executives have been less impacted by layoffs than junior & mid-level employees.
- Unless you’ve got a compelling story to tell, the tier 1, well-placed candidates will opt to stay put for now.
#3 | No bargains to be had. We are not seeing executive level compensation coming down (yet).
#4 | Company valuations are seizing candidates’ attention. Candidates want to know about valuation, runway, value of equity, etc. even on a first call. So be prepared for these topics to come up much earlier in the recruitment process than in the past!
#5 | Culture continues to matter most. The very senior, “been-there-done-that” Engineering and Product leaders continue to rank culture & people at the top of their priority list, followed by a passion for company mission.
#6 | Are local/relo requirements making a comeback?
- For the most part, the answer is no — for every opportunity that requires a local or relocation candidate, there are at least 4-5 competing opportunities that don’t — even at the senior leadership level.
- However, most senior execs are once again willing, and often eager, to travel to HQ to spend meaningful integration time with their team and the broader leadership organization.
#7 | As newer growth segments gain momentum like robotics and broader IoT, they require technical leaders with hardware and/or systems level experience. The demand for these types of Eng and Product executives is continuing to increase.
#8 | Beware of “generalist” search practitioners disguised as specialists. As the market softens, more generalists will emerge and raise their hands for Engineering and Product searches.
- Be sure to work with a true specialist. Why?
- True specialization = shorter cycles times…period.
- Little to no calibration phase when ramping up a new search.
- Strong relationships are critical as the most sought-after candidates only want to work with recruiters they know and trust.
At SPMB, building a long-term, trusted relationship with our clients and candidates, and solving their most challenging problems through talent acquisition, has been and remains our top priority in both up and down markets. Our focus is firmly on quality and premium service, versus top line revenue growth. Here are some of our recent placements…
Engineering and Product Leadership | Our Recent Placements
Our experience and coverage continues to be broad from pre-revenue, seed stage to publicly traded — and across the entire tech ecosystem from cybersecurity, storage, cloud, and data infrastructure to B2B SaaS to fintech, healthtech, marketplaces, autonomous vehicles, energy, and next-gen consumer devices.
- Ready Education | CTO | Student engagement platform
- Sovrn | CTO | Next-gen content creation platform
- Cohesity | Chief Development Officer; VP Product; and AVP Cloud Services | Modern Data Management Platform
- Crux Informatics | SVP Engineering | Data integration platform for external 3rd party data sources
- Corelight | SVP Engineering | Next-gen cybersecurity
- Seek Thermal | VP Engineering | High quality and affordable thermal imaging products and solutions
- Ingenio | VP Engineering | Knowledge commerce platform
- Oversight Systems | CPO | Fraud detection and risk mitigation solutions for the enterprise
- SourceDay | CPO | “First mile” supply chain solutions for manufacturing companies
- Lob | CPO | Direct mail automation platform
- Redis | SVP Product | Open source, in-memory data structure store (used as a DB, cache, etc.)
- Arlo Technologies | SVP Product; VP Software Engineering; and VP Cloud and Platform Engineering | Public company, Cloud Connected Surveillance Cameras for Consumers
- Axonify | SVP Product | E-learning Software & Gamified Learning
- ChartHop | VP Product | Central platform to bring people data together
- Tackle.io | VP Product | Zero engineering platform helping software providers generate revenue through cloud commerce
- ELSA | VP Product | AI-enabled speech recognition app and tutor
- Neo4j | VP Cloud Products | Graph Database Management System
- Dremio | VP Product Management | Next-gen, no-copy architecture data lake
- Dapper Labs | Head of Product | Consumer-Focused Blockchain Play
If you’re looking to add to your leadership team or seeking general advice on hiring, please contact us directly or visit us at spmb.com.