How to Hire a VP of Engineering

October 10, 2023

Welcome to the world of VP of Engineering hires! In today's tech-savvy landscape, landing the right Vice President (VP) of Engineering is akin to securing the linchpin of your company's success. Yes, vice president of engineering jobs are in demand. The demand for vice presidents of engineering is projected to grow 2% from 2018 to 20281. They are not just leaders but visionaries who steer your company's technical journey and champion innovation. This article is your trusty guide to making this all-important hire. We're going to explore everything you need to know, from understanding the role and defining your needs to crafting a stellar job description and sealing the deal.

Understanding the Role

First, let's understand the VP of Engineering role. This executive doesn't just manage the engineering department; they're the architects of your tech strategy and the driving force behind your technical excellence. They're not just tech wizards, they're also strategic masterminds who know how to align tech prowess with business goals.

The VP of Engineering serves as the bridge between the technical world and the business realm. They must translate complex technical matters into language that makes sense to the rest of the company's leadership, ensuring everyone is on the same page when it comes to technology-driven decision-making. Additionally, they are responsible for creating an environment where innovation thrives and engineering teams can reach their full potential.

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Defining Your Needs

Before you start the hunt, you need to know what you're hunting for. Align this VP of Engineering gig with your company's goals, culture, and growth stage. Think about the qualifications and attributes you need - technical know-how, leadership chops, and a dash of strategic brilliance.

Consider the size and maturity of your organization. A startup might require a VP of Engineering who is comfortable getting their hands dirty with code and can build a team from scratch. In contrast, a well-established company might need someone who can optimize existing processes, manage large teams, and set a long-term technology strategy. Your VP of Engineering should be a cultural fit too; they need to embody your company's values and contribute positively to the work environment.

Crafting a Compelling Job Description

Now, let's lure those tech virtuosos with a job description that's as enticing as it is precise. Be clear about what you expect and what's in it for them. Tell them about the enormous impact they can make in your organization - from rocketing projects into orbit to shaping your tech future.

Your job description is not just a list of demands but an invitation to make a mark. Highlight how their skills and vision can help your company scale new heights. Consider mentioning any unique perks your company offers, such as flexible work arrangements, opportunities for professional development, or involvement in exciting projects. Emphasize how the role aligns with your company's mission and the significant role the VP of Engineering will play in achieving that mission.

Additionally, for those seeking to expand their leadership team further, check out our blog article on how to hire a CTO, which provides insights into securing the ideal Chief Technology Officer to lead your company's tech endeavors.

Sourcing Candidates

Time to roll up your sleeves and find the diamond in the rough! Your network and industry contacts can be gold mines. Networking within the tech community and asking for referrals can yield some amazing candidates. Headhunting agencies, especially those specializing in tech leadership roles, can be your allies in this quest. They have a deep network of potential candidates and can help identify individuals who may not be actively job hunting but are open to the right opportunity.

Don't limit your search to just the typical job boards. Consider reaching out to candidates on professional networking sites like LinkedIn, where you can connect with candidates directly and engage them in meaningful conversations. Social media platforms can also be effective tools for sourcing candidates, especially if your company has a strong online presence and can attract passive job seekers.

Screening and Evaluation

In the initial screening phase, give resumes and applications a good read. Look for experience and qualifications that match your needs. Ensure that each candidate meets your basic requirements. Structured interviews are your secret weapon here. Ask questions that dig into their past experiences, problem-solving skills, and their knack for inspiring innovation.

During the screening and evaluation phase, it is important to carefully review resumes and applications to identify candidates who meet the qualifications and requirements for the VP of Engineering role. Conduct structured interviews to delve into their past experiences, problem-solving skills, and ability to inspire innovation. You may also consider incorporating technical assessments or coding challenges to assess their technical expertise. This comprehensive evaluation process will help you gain a practical understanding of a candidate's abilities and potential to contribute effectively to your organization's tech team.

Assessing Cultural Fit and Leadership Qualities

This is where it gets interesting. It's not just about skills; it's about vibes and leadership magic. Your VP of Engineering should sync with your company's culture, values, and mission. Look for candidates who bring adaptability, teamwork, and the ability to inspire and lead. Sample interview questions can help you dig deeper into their cultural fit and leadership skills. Ask about their experiences in fostering innovation, resolving team squabbles, and steering tech decisions in line with your company's mission.

Consider scenario-based questions that require candidates to demonstrate how they've handled leadership challenges in the past. For example, you might ask them to describe a situation where they had to lead a team through a high-stakes project or navigate a major technical change within an organization. These questions can provide valuable insights into their leadership style and problem-solving abilities.

Reference Checks and Due Diligence

Don't skip this part; it's the fine print of your VP of Engineering deal. Chat with their references to get the inside scoop on their past performances and leadership style. Ask questions about their impact on previous organizations, their ability to navigate challenges, and their adaptability. Background checks are your safety net here, ensuring your candidate is all they claim to be.

When checking references, don't just focus on their technical skills. Ask about their ability to collaborate with cross-functional teams, communicate effectively, and drive positive change within their previous organizations. These qualities are often just as important as technical expertise for a VP of Engineering.

Compensation and Offer

Time to talk turkey - the compensation package. Research market trends, align with your budget, and make a competitive offer. Be ready for some back-and-forth in negotiations, and remember to be transparent about everything, including benefits, equity, and any other perks. When it comes to compensation, it's essential to be competitive in the market. According to Glassdoor, the average base salary for a VP of Engineering in the United States can reach up to $210,977 per year2. Use this as a benchmark to structure your offer.

Consider offering a competitive base salary along with performance-based bonuses or incentives tied to key milestones or goals. Equity or stock options can also be a powerful incentive for top talent, as it aligns their interests with the long-term success of the company. During negotiations, be open to discussing the candidate's priorities and needs. Understand what motivates them beyond financial compensation and see if you can tailor the offer to meet their preferences. Flexibility in compensation packages can make your offer more attractive to top candidates.

Onboarding and Integration

You've got your VP of Engineering, now it's time to get them settled. Smooth onboarding is key. Provide all the necessary resources and support for a seamless start. Create a detailed onboarding plan that includes introductions to key team members, an overview of company processes and culture, and access to the necessary tools and systems.

Integrate them into your team and culture. Encourage collaboration, and mentorship, and keep those feedback channels open. Consider hosting team-building activities or workshops to foster connections and trust within the engineering team. Building strong working relationships early on can contribute to the VP of Engineering's success in leading their teams effectively.


Hiring a VP of Engineering is not just another task; it's an investment in your company's future. With a clear understanding of the role, your needs, and a structured hiring process, you can find the right candidate who aligns with your company's vision. This isn't merely about filling a role; it's about unlocking your company's potential for tech excellence and innovation. Your VP of Engineering will be the compass guiding your technical ship through uncharted waters. Embrace this opportunity, and the rewards will be substantial.

Remember, this process is about more than just finding the right person; it's about building a bridge between your company's aspirations and its technological future. Approach it with enthusiasm, diligence, and a willingness to adapt, and you'll be well on your way to securing a VP of Engineering who will drive your company to new heights of success.

Ready to embark on this journey? Let JB Hired assist you in finding the perfect VP of Engineering for your company. Fill in the form below and let's get started on the path to tech leadership excellence!