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Why Kitchener-Waterloo Founders Partner with Us

Finding a VP-level candidate for any department can be tough as the more senior the role, the more expectations and requirements a candidate needs to have - none more so than a VP of Product. 

Hiring a Product Leader to come in and take over the reins and direction of your product can be a daunting and stressful task.

Perhaps you are like many of the Founders or CEOs we've been speaking with; you and the board have agreed it's time to look outside the geographical boundaries you've held onto so tightly: The Golden Triangle, KW, Cambridge, and GTA.

You're ready to hire the best possible VP Product you can attract, and now you need a search partner who understands the North American product market

The following are the five main reasons why our firm is trusted to lead these search efforts and help companies find their first VP Product.

Our Product Practice

Since 2016, our firm’s largest practice has been product. The head of our Product Practice, Heidi Ram, has over 22 years of search experience, 12 of which have been focused solely on Product Management executives. She also sits on the board of the TPMA (Toronto Product Management Association). 

The benefits to having a dedicated Product Management recruiting team are many, but here are the main ones:

  • We are engaged within the community you want to hear from 
  • Due to the number of VP Product searches we do, we are trained in finding and evaluating this unique persona against your organization’s growth goals
  • Highly sought-after candidates may be more likely to respond and engage with us because of our reputation

Speed of Search

When it comes to hiring a practice leader, time is your enemy. We are often hired after a company has already made some form of effort on its own. Either their network failed to yield fruitful candidates, or the level of outbound activity required to unearth top-level product leaders proved to be too much.  

Whatever the reason, the reality is that they are still a company without a VP Product. The benefit of hiring a third party like us is that all of our time is invested in recruitment. The sole purpose of our business is to complete search assignments. 

Our dedicated product practice team, not only includes Recruiters, but also Researchers and Admin, who enable us to scale and provide speed without sacrificing results.

Location Agnostic 

While our company is based in Toronto, our clients are based in major cities across Canada and the US. Our team is used to working across time zones, meaning we have the dedicated resources to conduct searches at a global level.

Who can forget the pre-Covid Kitchener/Waterloo bubble – always hoping world-class talent woke up to the fact that they are an impressive tech hub and would relocate. 

However, in a Covid-19 world, what Research in Motion began with ‘remote, but still connected’ has finally been fully realized. Many KW startups are moving to digital-first. 

This new reality has had little effect on how we execute since we are continually being asked to recruit across North America and occasionally in Western Europe and the UK. 

However, what did happen is our international efforts yielded a better hire, given the new flexibility to forgo a relocation requirement for a remote employee arrangement.

See how we placed a VP Product for a Kitchener scale-up in just 33 business days! 

Neutral & Discreet

It's not unusual for a client to make special requests which can take many forms, but the most common request is to recruit from a specific set of companies, often partners or competitors. 

For obvious reasons, many employers can not risk actively engaging with these candidates as that could ring the alarm bells or alert competitors to potential future updates or shifts in product focus.

Another reason why a third-party recruitment firm may be used is to apply a discrete approach if the role is for someone being replaced or a succession plan is being created for a future event. 

We are skilled in executing such searches, the most famous of which was when Thalmic Labs engaged us to recruit a VP Product and the entire search was completed without anyone knowing what the actual product would be. Since then, Thalmic rebranded to North and was acquired by Google in 2020 for an undisclosed sum.

Partnership 

Our experience has taught us that Founders who view our relationship as a partnership will achieve the best outcome by engaging us. Why? Because they aren’t focused on a one-time transaction. The benefits of a requirement partnership are many, but some of the highlights include: 

Mutually sharing information: we share our market knowledge to help you better understand the current conditions and provide you with context to help make the right hiring decisions for your organization. 

Time in the process: commitment to weekly progress meetings for insights and feedback sharing. This way, everyone is aware of where we are and the next steps in the process.

Transparency/Honesty: Disclosure of any information that may help (or hinder) outcomes. As your recruitment team, we provide information on a candidate's competitive search efforts. As our partners, you disclose any outside influences which may have an impact on the search progress (changes to investment, resignations/terminations of stakeholders, vacation schedules, etc.) 

Most importantly, we will challenge unrealistic thinking about the current market conditions, or equal opportunity employment legislation. 

As a partner, we are not there for a quick sale. Rather, we want to ensure the Kitchener startups we work with are set up for long-term success with the person (or people) they hire. We even offer a candidate guarantee.

For even more perspective about how we do, what we do, see some of our recent searches and the Kitchener brands we’ve partnered with!