Roles we hire for




VP of Engineering

VP of Engineering

A VP of Engineering oversees the technical/ engineering direction and development of a company.

What does a VP of Engineering do?    

VPs of Engineering are responsible for managing a company's engineering team and overseeing the technical aspects of a company's products or  services. They ensure the engineering team is works efficiently, meets  deadlines, and produces high-quality work. They also work closely with other  departments, such as product development and marketing, to ensure the company's products or services meet the needs of customers and are  competitive in the market.    

What is the typical background of a VP of Engineering?    

Successful VPs of Engineering have a strong background in engineering and  extensive experience managing teams of engineers. They have a deep  understanding of the technologies and software development methodologies used  in your industry. Typically, VP of Engineering candidates have a bachelor's  degree in computer science or a related field, as well as several years of  experience working as a software engineer.    

What are some of the typical responsibilities of a VP of Engineering?    

The typical responsibilities of a VP of Engineering include:    

  • Managing the engineering team, including hiring, training, and mentoring  engineers
  • Developing and implementing engineering processes and standards
  • Collaborating with other departments to define product requirements and  develop product roadmaps
  • Ensuring that projects are completed on time and within budget
  • Identifying and addressing technical risks and issues
  • Staying up-to-date with the latest technologies and industry trends

What are some of the skills a successful VP of Engineering should have?    

A successful VP of Engineering should have the following skills:  

  • Strong leadership and management skills
  • Excellent communication and collaboration skills
  • A deep understanding of software development methodologies and  technologies
  • Strong problem-solving and analytical skills
  • The ability to manage multiple projects and priorities
  • A commitment to quality and continuous improvement

Where are some of the best places to search for a VP of Engineering?

We find that since strong VP of Engineering candidates are in high demand, the best approach is to recruit through both inbound and outbound methods. Many VPs of Engineering are employed at strong, high-performing companies and may require a series of interviews and meetings in order to find the right candidate for your specific opportunity.

Recruiting from Scratch specifically offers leadership and executive recruiting services in order to help our clients reach some of the top-performing engineering talent out there.

What are some common job titles a VP of Engineering may hold before becoming a VP of Engineering?

We find that former or current job titles vary for VP of Engineering candidates. For example, a Senior Director of Engineering at a startup or midsize company may have similar management experience and qualifications as a Senior Lead at a large FAANG company, if they're both being recruited to join a startup. So it really depends! But below, we've outlined some of the job titles you may find VP of Engineering candidates coming from: 

Senior Engineer/Lead Developer: Many VPs of Engineering have been Senior Engineers or Team Leads at large companies, gaining deep technical expertise and experience in building software products.

Engineering Manager: Other VP of Engineering candidates may come from roles as Engineering Managers, which involves managing a team of engineers. Engineering Managers should understand people management, such as hiring, training, and performance evaluation.

Senior Engineering Manager or Director of Engineering: This is probably the most common. At this level, responsibilities expand to oversee multiple teams or entire departments, requiring skills in strategic planning, budgeting, and cross-department collaboration.

What are some interview questions to ask a VP of Engineering?

The questions you'll want to ask a VP of Engineering candidate will vary based on the specifics of your company. For example, you may wish to hire a VP of Engineering who recently worked at an AI/ML startup, and you want to understand their technical proficiency. Or, you may be hiring a VP of Engineering in manufacturing, and you know they'll have a large team and will need great management skills.

Regardless of the specifics of the role, here are some questions we recommend asking a potential VP of Engineering:

Can you describe your experience with scaling engineering teams and technology in a growing company? (this is probably one of our favorite questions - many of our clients need an engineering leader who can take them from Series A to Series B for example, so finding people who have similar experience can often help)

What is your leadership style when it comes to building and managing high-performing engineering teams?

How do you stay current with technological trends, and how do you decide which technologies to adopt?

Can you describe a challenging technical project you led? What was your role, and how did you ensure its success?

What is your experience with budget management, including resource allocation for projects and team development?

How do you ensure the engineering team's efforts align with the company's business goals and objectives? Which methods have you found to be most effective?

Can you provide examples of how you've handled conflict within your team or with other departments, perhaps related to budgets or resources? 

What role do you believe the VP of Engineering should play in company strategy and decision-making?

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