The Pair Program
The Pair Program

Episode 10 · 2 months ago

Getting Layered at a Startup: How to Tactfully Navigate Through This Stage of Growth | The Pair Program Ep10

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Join us for a discussion about getting layered– when leadership adds a new role between you and your current boss and fills the role externally (instead of promoting from within).

In this episode, our hosts, Tim and Mike, talk to startup leaders Kim Merino and Sean McBride. Kim is a self-taught software engineering manager from Los Angeles, where she currently leads the Growth Front End team at Netlify. She thoroughly enjoys helping her team grow in their careers and mentoring women in tech. Sean heads up engineering at a healthcare startup, Wellty. Prior to this role, he worked for over 12 years in corporate and philanthropic backed startups. During this period he has been layered, brought in layers, and was recently brought in as a layer as a Director of Engineering.

They discuss:

  • Tips for Individual Contributors (How to tactfully move forward after getting layered, transition to a new manager, and advocate for your own growth)
  • Best practices for technical leaders (How to get buy-in from the people who are getting layered & ensure your team feels confident about their future at the company)
  • Guidance for the new manager (How to respectfully step into your position and build trust with your new team)

Welcome to the pair program From Hatch Pad, the podcast that gives you a front row seat two candid conversations with tech leaders from the startup world. I'm your host, Tim Winkler, the Creator of Hatch Pad, and I'm your other host, Mike Ruin. Join us. Each episode is we bring together two guests to dissect topics at the intersection of technology, startups and career growth. What's going on everyone, we are back for another episode of the pair program I am your host, Tim Winkler, accompanied by my cohost, Mike grewing. Mike, how are you today, sir? I'm doing all right. How are you doing? I'm good. It's Friday, exact plane. Cool one to talk today about this concept of getting layered. So you know what what is layering? It's a situation where you know you've been an employee at a start up for a certain amount of time and the leadership decides to hire someone above you. So a common, you know, common scenario. We've got some great guests here today to shed some light on the topic. They've seen this situation play out from a few different perspectives. So Shan and can thanks for spending some time with us today. Hey, y'all, hey, welcome. Cool, cool. All right. So before we dive into the discussion, in the pair program tradition, we like to kick things off with the fund segment called pair me up. Up. This is an segment where we go around the room we show a complimentary pairing. So Mike lead us off for today. So I'm going with that cheesecake and Habanera peppers, my layer of hot peppers on top of the cheesecake. It's it's really it's a spine. I love it. It's the sweet and the spicy and then the fat from the cheesecake really helps bring it all together. How did you come across that? So so, yeah, served. So second job I was at the CEO for his birthday, forced everyone to have a piece of his his cheesecake that he put these habit air of peppers all like it was covered. You couldn't see the top of the cheesecake. It was just these slices of pepper and he basically forced it all on us. And I like spicy stuff anyway. So wasn't that big a deal. And I tried. I was like this is this is amazing. I'm glad you made me eat this and yeah, so that's how I felt. Im off the Gould get experiment with that. Sounds like a Harper and nightmare. Fat from the cheesecake kind of helps a little bit. Bad Sneeze it out, even even some nice cool I'm gonna go with everything bagels and toothpicks. For the most part, I have never in all all my years eaten and everything Bagel without just getting poppy seeds all different crevices of my teeth. And of course this morning had one. Had A call with my CFO. You know, we're doing the the zoom and then we wrap up. I go look in the mirror and I've got like six poppy seeds, alt in my alt in my teeth, and I'm like, I think this needs to be standard. Anytime you get served like an everything Bagel, just comes with a toothpick or, you know, a dental pick, something like that, because it's yeah, the problems real. So, Ken, what about yourself? What's repairing? So I'm going something totally non food related. I'M gonna go with first day of Pteo or first day of vacation and direct deposits. I think that's a like when you are out, like you're in Spain, your last Ram last and you want to buy like these expensive cheeses and you're like, you know, I should think I have enough. And then, like you see that direct pose hit, you're like, Oh you know what, wrap up that whole roll of Manchego. I am taking it back to my hotel room and I'm just going to chill and eat it. That Nice, is beautiful. Take the whole wheel. Take the whole wheel. Let's about bring it back. I like that. That's nice. I like that. Sean. How about yourself? What are you do? You got? I tried think of something not food related, but failed. I'm going to have to go with salt and vinegar, not so much for the chips, because any condiment worth eating has salt vinegar at it, like sauce. It's like, Oh, you got here, you your Hallo Pino and salt vinegar. Your having you o salt vinegar. Yeah, it doesn't have solved an air at e comment. Why Bother? It's it's good, it's legit. I'm gonna tested with Salton viewerships. I mean that's that's that's the goat chip in my opinions. Yeah, you start there and then maybe think about something else to go with it. That's right, good stuff. Well, all right, let's let's go ahead and a wrap this up and transition into the the heart of the the...

...discussion here today. So I did. As I mentioned, we are going to be talking about this concept of getting layered and we strategically selected, you know, our two guests today. As they've they have each seen this layering play out from different perspectives. For example, Kem, you know you've been in a role in the past where you know, you were the one getting layered. Sean, you've been layered before which you've also sat like a manager seat of the one who's doing the layering. And then there's also this third perspective that will dissect as well, which is a little bit more of like the perspective of the new hire that's being brought into the company and how that person might navigate the situation with the person that they maybe just hopped over on the totem pole. So I'm going to start it off with you, Kim, and I think will be helpful to get some provide some contact for our listeners here. What has been your experience with layering? My experience has always been I'm hiring it was one of two things. It's when I'm hiring for my new boss. There's lots of there's lots of nuances in there, but at least like hey, we're going to bring a VPN, this person is going to report to you. Are you're going to report to them? Let's just see if they fit. And then the other part is me, like they want to put me in a new in it not just like in a new cake, but like a new like pastry display. Yeah, cool, and I might have skipped over this, but just a quick introl, I guess, on your your titles, well, like the roles that you've served in the past. Oh My, so I've gone, you know, full stack and s full stacked, regular degular coding monkey, to then moving into like team lead, tech lead, subject matter expert, and then gradually moving into like project lead or PM, and now officially into the engineering manager role, the e M roll. And then there's this. There's the thing of like well, we kind of want you to move into the project manager and again because you're really good at it. Then I'm like, I guess, why not, Sewan? What about yourself? Quick and trow all the on, you know a little bit of of how you've progressed to your current situation and then, Ye, your experience with Larn Yeah, so my experience has been coming from in like a r Dev come up the ranks, having people sometimes come in above as that progresses, moving into engineering manager role heading up an engineering team, and that also kind of fit within another engineering team, even in my current role where not that long it was a CTO and a couple of debs and now a teams growing and layers are getting introduced throughout all of those. So what's the that's the size of the startup that you're currently working work. The engineering team is about twenty seven right now and total head count. Total head count is around two hundred and eighty. Okay, Oh, Mike, you you know, you've also got some experience with this topics. Of them cares to hear you're yeah, lit problem. I think I've been trying to think I've definitely come into I've been the person coming in like where they sort of have an engineering team, there's a senior engineer and they have decided to hire a VP of engineering and been that guy coming in and also definitely not so much in the layering as much as like I was transitioning out of the company and moved into a product role to make room for a new VP of engineering and sort of brought somebody in. But it's a very similar sort of process of here's a new boss and we're not promoting from within. It's not so much layering as much as just like and I just let's replacement. But you know, and how does that all work? But those are those are my primary experiences. Oh, so can yeah, I like this analogy that he is about. Like I'm just like looking at as like Larry and a cake. So you know, what are I guess some some advice, recommendations for for tech leaders out there that are getting ready to, you know, to do some Larry and like how to best practices, anything out there that you are that comes to mind for you? Yeah, the first thing that comes to mind is about just the interview cycle and deciding who should be a part of it. I find that it's I find it kind of curious that oftentimes when you're trying to layer somebody in, especially somebody you know who's going to have reports, that the people who will report to them aren't included in the interview process. I find that so fascinating, I think because I came from education, when I was a teacher and it was super common, at least the last school is at, where the students would actually ask questions to the incoming candidate like what do you you know? Just just...

...things like you know, what do you see? What do you what do you see in our neighborhood? Stuff like that, and so I'm to asking myself, like, why don't we include the folks who are going to eventually report to this person? Because it not on one number one, you can figure out if they're a culture fit. But too you are actually you are ensuring that your engineers are going to probably stay in the company because they feel included. One thing to say I want to include your ideas and we want to move to server list, but it's another thing to say I really want your opinion on a very big decision at the company and it matters. I just find it so fascinating that they don't. Oftentimes they don't include it. It'll just be peer interviews as opposed to report and I think the the second thing is you know, and sometimes it doesn't. It doesn't work where the candidate who the people, the people once or whatever is what you know, as a c level person, wants, and it's really important to be transparent to say this is why I chose this individual, over what you said, and to be ready for any pushback that might happen as result of it. I think it's interesting you bring up the include the reports, because I think that there's two there's two parts of that, because if you're going to include them, which I, like you, believe you should, then you also have to listen to them, because I think what I've seen, I've definitely seen this at other organizations where they're included, but it's clear their opinion doesn't matter, that they're they're just right, and so if you're going to include them, then their opinion also has to matter. Otherwise you're better off actually saying, Hey, we're doing the search, we know what we're looking for and we hope that you like this person, we hope that, Blah Blah, but like we know what we're looking for. It's I think, the worst is to include people and then sort of not really care about their opinion. I even think I take that even a step farther and saying like, Oh, we're looking for someone that has these qualifications, but then the reports should actually be weighing at what do they need for more and actually waiting even a step more, like this is what they want, and again defering those two worlds together. Yeah, definitely, like what right? What are the things that we think we need? Like who better? I agree. I mean, I'm a big like I'm all about I would go beyond empowering people to this concept of like emancipation where it's like they're free. I want my engineers to just be able to do and I don't want a manager. That's you know, I'm not very topped out, and so yes, I would love nothing more than like their participation. What's interesting, though, is when I hired my replacement at a company, the engineers were actually that involved the people that this first one was. We had to be reporting to why he was an into, but here's the thing. He was in internal referral from a couple of the people who had worked with him previously, a couple of the very senior engineers who would work with them previously, and we just knew that he was going to fit and it worked out great. Like there was it. We knew that it was going to be good and it did. So we couldn't like the idea of having all of these people interview him seemed sort of almost pointless because we just had such a good feel for him. But it is funny that I say that, but that's the way it worked out and it worked out really well and some people who reported to him were like Hey, he's actually better manager the new mic. So thank you. Yeah, I think it's a good perspective to and I would almost go as foot for saying to like the candidate that you're you're bringing in, that you're interviewing like that. You almost want them to push for that, like Hey, can I meet you know, the folks on that are going to be if it's not a part of the process, like bring it up and say would it be okay if I talk with some of the folks? That will be yeah, I think I've done that and I'd the recruiter been like, Oh, we never thought about that, and I was like that's why you want to hire me, because I'm so I totally right. I've definitely pushed for the the meeting with the people who are going to be reporting me. I want to know what like the what the real problems are, and like this is like are you? Yeah, and they're the ones who are going to tell you. Hmm, what about from the perspective of, you know, the person that's getting layered? Right, what you know? When is that something that maybe it's? When's the right time to bring it up, to address it? And even so, like I even trace this back to like, you know, when you're interviewing for a position. You know, is it out of line to say, like Hey, just want to you know, understand one my career growth path here, but to you know, what is like the Hiring Road Map look like? You know, I love to know like how we envision this engineering or product teams like forming out to kind of get a little bit of a queue of you know where and when this might actually happen to you when you're joining something start up or Gantic. Organically, it's going to be growing. So of course is going to be folks brought in, but where do I fall into that? So, yeah, let's let's chat about it from the from the perspective of the person that...

...it is getting layered. Oh, that's all. And from so many as, because it's like it's yeah, having people come in, but me I can be like deeply emotional just like hey, why, why is this person coming in? What am I where? Am I not meeting the needs of the company? But I think having that, the expectations what's needed more than just hey, we're bringing someone in, can really like set the tone and like yeah, this is the role, this is what's we need from the roll and if looking at that as like yeah, I am a qualified for that role and getting kind of buy in, that okay, there is a need from others that that there's something missing. MMM, I have yet to find like a startup. That maybe because I've worked in smaller startups. So the idea of like career growth is like yeah, we'll get to it. The the small the mid size companies, I at least expect them to say in the future we will plan for it, but I haven't really seen it from like a start maybe a startup that's like on funding round like h you know as you get into the later the later letters, that you can actually see it happening. Most of the time the companies I worked on have just been working on product, just trying to get part of product market fit. I will say this that that it's important. Like what I bring it up I'm going to say, if I'm going to stay here for, you know, two, three years, like if I'm going to stay here long enough to vest my stock, then I need to be having we need to be having that conversation about career growth and my and I usually I'm pretty up front. I'm saying my expectation, that is, in a year I should have a team, and it's kind of like, not not like a warning. I'm not trying to like threaten anybody, but more just like I'm letting you know, this is what I expect out of you as my manager in my c level. folte might my you know, my leadership, that in a year I should be able to have grown my career, because I'm great, I'm all for like bringing a product to market, but at the end of day I still got to get paid, you know. Yeah, and I think that that on lines pretty much with like my experience as well, which is small company. Usually the conversations or like well, we're going to need everything, and we're like all these opportunities are here for you to grow into if it makes sense, like they don't. There's not going to be a promise, there's not going to be a whatever there's just this like yeah, we obviously for successful, we're going to grow, we're going to want to. You know, I think questions around coming into a company, questions around promoting from within and people's theories on that, like asking those types of probative questions to sort of get a sense of is there an actual opportunity for me to grow here or as we get more and more successful, or they just going to keep hiring more and more layers above me? I think is you can sort of get a sense for that Durin the interview process. But my experience has been right, most startup s are with to Kim's point, like they don't really know that it's like working. Hopefully we're that successful. Like we'll cross that bridge when I get to it, like first lesson, let's get some code out the door. Yeah, I mean it's funny. I just actually had a conversation with a new cus compside Grad. It was a friend of a friend I offer. I offer mentoring services just to anybody that asks for it, and Austin I we were talking about it and I was like, so what kind of company you targeting? And she was pretty smart. She was like, well, I don't want to go in a startups and I was like, well, why not? She says, because I wouldn't have I wouldn't I wouldn't have the mentorship that I need to really, you know, I have a strong foundation for building my career to start up. And I was like why would you think that? She's like she asked me to cheat point. Michael was like, well, do you? Would you do that as a beginning dove? Would you started to start up? And I was like that's a really good point. And most of the time at least, the startups that I've been at have always been like we need senior I sees, because we're trying to build this thing, we need to get there as quick as possible. That being said, I was actually telling my partner this. I was like I feel like in the past like year, I've really understood how important it is picking the right size startup when it comes to getting into people management, because I've been in those companies where it's like they like you just like like it was just that you're like, Hey, I offer all these wonderful services of like people mentioned, I can get your teens going, and they're like that's cool, but we actually in an air conditioner like person and you're like, Oh, okay, we'll just hit me up in like two years. You know, I'll gladly do it. It sucks, but it's what it's like dating. You gotta find the right fit right. Yeah, I love that point you made, Mike, About just what's your philosophy on like promoting from within, because, you know, I think there's something to be said about that. Like we think about that at hatch a lot of you know, we want to build this next layer...

...of leaders and for the most part everybody's really been pretty, you know, heads down, hands on, you know, tackling different, different challenges, like people management has been something that predominantly for you know, for the first call it up to fifteen ish, it's been myself and my business partner, and, you know, trying to put that next layer within is something that we had to have this conversation of, you know, is the goal to go out and find this vp that is just going to then step in and be the person? How would that, you know, how would that come across to these folks that have been loyal, been here for four years or so, and, you know, then communicating to them like no we want you to be that lead. If you want to be that person, you know we can set you up for that path and that's our philosophy and that's how we communicate it. And I will say that you don't ever want to just to commit to that's the only way it's going to be, because there could very well be a scenario where, if the business is suffering because we don't have this expertise in place, we're going to need to hire it from outside at some point. So trying to find a happy medium there. But I like from the from the CANIS perspective of like probing that question a little bit of what, historically, have you seen a lot of your folks like go, you know, go into internal promotions, and can give me some examples? I think that's a really interesting point. I think Sean sets something earlier also. That's where the sort of talking to people about what the expectations are like, why are we going outside? Why aren't we promoting from within? Like what what is it? It's it might not be anything personal and in fact actually, I think from a leadership perspective, I think there's sometimes like some residency to have that conversation, but frequently people are pretty selfaware, or they can be, and if you sort of explain, like well, this is what we're like, does this job sound like a job you want to do? And it's like Oh, no, hell now, like yeah, please hire that right. And I don't want. I don't want to sit in meetings on the A and go to the board and have to deal with budgets and Blah, Blah blay. Yeah, like now that's not the joy. I thought the job was something completely different. Yeah, no, hire that person, or that's like that's exactly how I done. That be something that's just like talk with lead engineers and like do we want to go into a management track? Is this something you're interested in? Like, I need a people manager as right, can twenty seven people reporting? So right, this is what the role entails. Do people want to get in that? Like no, I want to be like hands on keyboard, are incredible Dev and have a long running career that's going to go through the roof. I see routes like great, let's try to foster that, but we need someone in this role to help you do that, right, or to help me help you you. Yeah, I decide. I think about like trying to convince, like a senior I see to like move into another layer and it's just it's like trying to pull a Boodo to water, like it's like some people are just like you can convinced, there's a little light, and others are like hail to the KNOB, to the non not. I think it's interesting is there's people who the very the the most senior engineers generally already know now that's not what I want. It's it's a couple light it's just a couple layers below or a couple of years of experience below that where they think that's what they want. And and then you start talking about what the job really is and like, oh, that's not the job I thought it was. But I remember the first time I was promoted a manager and my team league came in and she's like, I have children older than you, and she's like, I used to think I wanted to sit in that see, I sat in that seat for like a month and hated it and then, you know, Bulon. Had that conversation. is a really healthy conversation because I do think that a lot of people assume that the only way to move up in an organization is through management and they don't know about like the sort of staff engineer and the the senior right. You know, I see type route staying technical. So that's one of the biggest things, making sure that people can see that route and then giving them a taste of what some management may be like. We're leaving a project like not managing anybody yet and like, but effective the are doing like ninety percent of the people management on this project. It a treat to meet it, taste it again and then just like what did you like? What do you not do? Something like retrospectives in a oneonone on that to see what it is that they're really getting out of that role. And is it like Oh, I just love solving this like deep architectural problem. That's awesome, and like well, what about the side? Like Oh yeah, we kind of like didn't really get attention, so doubling down on that tech side is super helpful. HMM. Yeah, I think good leaders should have a pulse on what their team wants. This is going to come by way of, you know, your one on ones, if those are weekly, monthly, what have you. There should be an ongoing communication. That's happening here, but between hey, you know,...

...are you satisfied here? You know, what are the things that you want to get more exposure to or what are the things we want? Might want to dial back if we're putting too much on your plate. That that should kind of set the stage. Four. Oh, you know, I've talked to six of my senior folks and not single person is communicated that people management is of interest. This is a good queue. Right like that. Maybe we need to start looking out outside for this next person. So yeah, good, good leaders will have that. Should have that pulse. But it does definitely a tricky the larger you get, right, because there's going to be that many more layers of folks that need to kind of communicate that up the flagpole. So I think we talked a little bit about this can but, like we're when we're doing a discovery session, I don't remember any of this. What you talking about? We've got you on the record. Got You on the record, so you know. So you get layered and let's just say it was a really poor scenario. That the way it played out. Yeah, how do you tactfully kind of how do you tactually go like move forward from there? Like what are some of those. What are some of your options? I mean, I'm gonna be very, very careful. High I say this, I usually just leave. I mean, let I I know, I know just maybe some listeners probably like that sounds riduniculous, like why would you do that? I think, I think what it is is that if you know, for example, we're moving layers right, you know, would like well, I see you moving in this this part. I'm very clear my managers and very clear with folks I report up to, like like one of the like the first one on one is like here is my plan, here's what I want to do within a year. I want to be able to look back and say I accomplished this. It's not just three thousand six hundred ninety, it's this is where I see Kim Marino heading heading and I hope that is what you you see. For me, I learned. I learned in this industry from a really great mentor of mine, Frankie Nicolade, who has, you know, been on the show. She made me a clish. She's like you should really be very honest and transparent with your with you're the person who's this layered above you, because you want to establish trust and transparency and to be as honest as possible. So I always let my managers know the beginning this is what I want and we have an honest discussion. If they see that's where, if that's where they see me and where I'm I can fit into this layer cake, and I'm pretty honest, like, if I see that we're not quhen. I hate saying this word, aligned I am very willing to say you know what, I don't think I have a place here. I would much rather I don't want to waste your time because it's very expensive. My time is very expensive, and the team has things that they need to do and there's a product that needs to get out there. There's people who have put a lot of money and investing into making sure that they actually get a return. So let's just call it even and let's part our ways. That that's been my philosophy, because I know I'm in demn. I can go somewhere else. I mean, recruiters are hitting me up on twitter like come on. If, for example, there's a company that I'm like I really want to stay, I usually just wait until I hear the option and I ask myself, like can I possibly do this? For Ninety days to set somebody else up for success and as opposed to like I'm going to try to fit myself into this little box of like, Oh, I'm gonna go into like product management or project management or I'm going to go back into a senior I see role. I say my say to myself, let me just give it ninety days so that I can make sure that the next person who they're coming who they're going to hire, has like a whole set, like a whole skeleton that they can they can work with and they can be successful, and my team that I used to have will be successful as well. It will said, I think. I mean, I I would say that. Well, one you know, hopefully it's not our recruiters that are hidden you up on twitter. I would say that the point about, you know, there's no use in wasting too much of any person's time once it's kind of been decided, and I think the idea of helping transition somebody in is a kind gesture, but at the same time it's like, I guess it's very circumstantial right. It's how much, how much time has been invested into you by the company and vice versa, like you know, obviously the tenure and the relationships that have been built, like all that will play a part into how that transition plays out. But I would just say, like from a staros perspective, you know, I play this out and and in my my company, I would say, well, let's find the person that's yeah, that's the better that's the better fit for what we need right now, and just go our separate ways. No, I much prefer to just go passive aggressive and undermine that person as much as bomb the with some conviction. I'm I'm sure maybe there's...

...some sort of a story that you won't want to tell at some point, and not at all, Seawan, were about yourself and anything on that topic. that. Yeah, I mean I found that a lot of times in startups people can get like they really actually want to see the startup succeed. So I've found that as people are leaving, and like I've done that myself, like when I know I'm leaving, trying to set the company up for success. Yes, like the decisions. Maybe we're going to leave quickly, it's going to happen, but what's actually that that right time, because people are like, I love the team here, like I love them where things are going. It's just not right for me right now. We have that great common understanding. So how can we help, like a love to help support people outside, like help them find their next roll, set the team up so that the rest of the Yor can move without them? It's yeah, I mean I agree with that. I think I think back a couple jobs. The CEO. They're really hammered this on a lot of occasions as we grew. We when I joined their six people, so I was like employe seven or eight, something like that. The idea of like just leave a place better than the way you found it. And every time we brought in somebody else, and there were a few times I forgot actually that the person who hired me ended up I don't know if he ended up reporting to me or IFE ended up reporting to somebody else that he ended up that he had hired. But whatever. There's all this like there's this constant like moving around at a certain liar, at a certain phase when we're about twenty to twenty two people. But that idea of like when somebody was leaving there like hey, you know, the CEO was really like they this person did a great job they're leaving a better than the way they found it. They're they're really setting the next person up for success, and I think that's always my goal whenever I leave an organization. Is, you know, is it better off that I had been there wait, as opposed to as opposed to following the park, the the rule, the national parks leave no trace if you were never there? That's funny. I actually love that, though. If I could, if I don't really leaving, could I just like ghosts, not the organization, and have everything keep going like, if that can happens, like success. That's all that's I don't think that's a bad measure of success either. Of of like but the the leave no trace ghosting. Get your shit out of here, you know, like good, get gone. Just stop showing up and see if they keep paying you and for how long. Westen, you need the direct deposits. Well, you're in Spain. You think she's so? So we got a few minutes left. I do want to take it from the perspective of the the the purse, the new person coming into the end of the company, because, yeah, there can be a little hostility, maybe in or just a little like awkwardness for the first, yeah, week, month or whatever it might be. So what, what would you recommend to somebody that's coming into the org that's just trying to, you know, figure out their place, especially when the like your manager was overlooked for that position and you're like, Oh, some drama. I mean maybe because I'm in La I love like petty drama like that, but I'm just the reality tody TV. I'm just like who's gonna get good? I can't wait for the on site. I hope they come to blows. You know, I you know, I think that's what I would do. Is, especially when there's drama like that and some people will mean like Oh, you're don't you your alliances. I like, I don't want to be a part of that. That's that's middle school stuff. That's that's stuff I don't I'm not a kid. I actually just try to make myself available to like the new person, especially if they're like in a leadership position. I do strategically, I say, you know, if you need to know what our rituals, what our processes are, I'm probably going to be the person you can ask, because it actually sets myself up for for success, success with the new person. They know to go to me. It's sort of like I'm I'm already like working my way or towards a certain position I might want. I've done that before were I've liked leverage my way so that I could say to this new person say like Hey, I'm, you know, the person in charge of x, Y and Z. So far, I'm willing to change it, but here's what I know and here's the strengths of this team and actually will set me up for like my next role, and it's made me very, very happy. It's if anything, it's shown. It shows the other the new the new VP, the new CEO, whatever, I'm here to help you be successful. And actually, the other thing I like to do, especially if they're coming in engineering org as opposed to like marketing, I always try to put the new person through the orientation...

...that all engineers go through so that they can know the product and like I actually will have a conversation with them, like our first day. It's say like so, what are your goals for like the next ninety days? And they're like, excuse me? I'm like, well, you know, you're on boarding as an engineer first, because you need to understand the products. I'm just going to walk you through this process. So always this thing where, like someone comes from like a big company, you know the we used to be an in charge in here. I'm going. So we're able to get your local Dev environments set up there, like Oh yeah, yeah, you know if it's been super successful, because it it ramps them up and they can understand the pain points that my team will go through and then they'll be like hey, Cam, can you help me out with this problem? Problem will be like absolutely. MMM, John, what about yourself? Anything that you recommend for that new person coming in? That's, you know, how they want to address like the team that they're going to be running. Yeah, so I can brought a good point around, like these are the pain points, you get to know those pain points. But one thing that I've in Calorn, probably because I've made this mistake, is going through the like an interview process, coming into be a layer, like this is how I see things could change, this is how I see we could make a difference. And then, when actually taking on that role, you don't know Jack Honestly, and like being able to be upfront about that and talk with the engineer's talk with the team because they are going to know so much more about what needs to be done and you do, and it starts building up the the communication which is necessary to build those relationships and that find those pain points and find the direction of have them actually start lead that. Because if you like, Oh, Yep, this is a problem, this is how you fix it, it's gonna be wrong. Let's be honest, it's wrong. Yeah, I think you should be spending like to your point, like I think you should be spending probably the first thirty days just listening, like when I came in took over an engineering team. That's you know, was like just let them talk, let them tell you what the problems are. Don't you know, if there's some obvious things that you can do to help, like, obviously do that, but for the most part you want to listen, you want to I agree, like you see right, listening coach and like if they have questions, like Oh, here's something I've seen, maybe you could explore that and really continue to empower as much as possible. Yep. Well, yeah, I get a lot of like here, a lot of visuals of the office with like light and Andy competing for the assistant to the sistant manager, assistant manage. You know, I'm the assistant to the assistant ranger. That's pretty pretty comical. Cool, I think. Any any last last talking points before we transition to the next segment. Covered quite a bit, so cool. Let's jump in. So this this next segment is called round out my career. It's a fun segment where we spend this community wheel that's behind me. It's got topics and questions that are crowd source from the Hatchbad community and they can range from anything from compensation to diversity. Let's give it a spin and see what today's topic will be. Let's round it out. My Pat say Jack Impersonation here. She's actually the giveaway Mike. Tell them what they've won. Raspberry Pie. So Kim's excited. She's like, am I getting that? That's actually talking about actual pie. I'm like layers, okay, yeah, right, ice cream on top, not the actual dessert, but Raspberry Pie. The Tech. We will be passing that off to somebody randomly within the Hashback community will draw that next that this week and make that announcement at some point in the next few weeks. So that's a the first time that's happened and sometimes so you all are good luck. Let's let's just pick a let's just pick a random question. Then I kind of like the compensation bucket right now because it is very top of mine and a very pleasurant deposits. So I want to go to take this question, but maybe do it from from the perspective of like a leader, a manager who's trying to hire. So you know obviously getting into a negotiation overcomp it's going to happen at some point. Any of any tips, I guess, from you know how you would you would handle it from the technical leader side, trying to negotiate with it, with an engineer coming in. They're obviously going to have you there. You know their stance on things. But...

...how can you go about this tactfully when you're trying to make this, make this work? Sewn your you've done a bit of hiring. How how does this work for you? I think a couple of the things that that have have worked is knowing which levers we can pull, like what is someone actually really want is is salary going to be something that drives some one? Is Equity going to be something that drives one? And knowing that there's a few different options to try to help make things work, also knowing, depending on where your company is, like, what is actually feasible, and understanding the the value of the role. I mean, I've had engineers coming like this is my comp I'm like great, I'm going to give you more because, like that is really like what but this role would be driving. I think those are the biggest things to because really we're trying to reach a mutual agreement here and we're going it's just we're not trying to win and trying to find other ways to help out, like, Oh, maybe we can make come up with a bonus program something to to make it work at a little creative m then. I can't wait to hear your thoughts on this, this topic. Let's let's get your spicy, your spicy. Take my spicy Tagle. I mean, for me it's not it's not equity in terms of stuff, but equity with the salaries. I'm usually the person of the team that when they're like, oh, it's you know, they'll be like, oh, it's a it's a male, you know, Canada. We're going to pay this. I go what are we paying the the other female, the female engineer in this role. Is it the same and the we like, oh no, this person's going to get more because of market. I go, then we should make sure that that person is also getting a raise to so we should include that in the offer that we're giving this person in terms of budgeting. One thing I this is, of course, pre Pannini. I. I remember having a negotiate work from home. That was a big thing right the pandemic, and I remembering to tell the CEO like sin, you're getting a really good day of data engineer. I know them personally and you the one thing like you want, don't want to negotiate on is them being able to work, you know, on a hybrid schedule. That was really that was probably the most difficult thing. It wasn't anything with the with the candidate, and it's I think like as a as a beginning am I always thought like the hardest part was going to be negotiating with the candidate. The thing is the candidates to know what they want. They they're like, I want x number, I want this much equity, I want this bonus, I want this title. It's always the company, it's always the C level people who were like, oh no, that's not what I had in mind. I don't know what I want. Well, and maybe they could be like, for example, this date engineer. They didn't know. Oh well, I don't know. I think I want them in the office. And I'm like, you needed to find this before, because these are going to be some some these are gonna be some curveballs people are going to throw you. What if I or to come to you and say here, it's his great Canada. They're going to come under, you know, under budget, but they you know, they need three months, three weeks off, you know, right away. Hmm, is that going to be a maker break? And that for me, I then end up going back and redefining this with my team to say, like, before we start searching for someone, let's plan. Let's plan about like if we have scenario a where they want to work, you know, they want to work hybrid or they they want, you know, five percent more than what we can possibly offer them. What are we going to do? And and that's where I actually have those conversations with our recruitment team, are our HR which I don't think a lot of em folks do, aside from like here's the candidate, please go ahead and talk to them. I actually will start a plants a planning session about, like what about we have these curveballs? What what can I work with it? Has this been defined yet? Does do you know? Does the CEO know what he wants in terms of like, you know, work from home or or whatnot? Right, that's funny, because I that you say about having the HR team and having them to go shat. I don't like having them negotia because I don't think that they can negotiate the way I can. Like look during the interview, the part of my interview process and frequently, like the fact is at startups you need people from here to get like the the the the width of the role, like you can hire this person if I can get this person for this salary and they can fit this and they can do eighty percent of what I want and I'm going to pay you know whatever. Like sometimes there's you just have a big, wide range of what you're looking for, and so for me, my interview process is figuring out, like where are they on the on the end, not range, like are they seen your what should their title be? But once so when we get to the end, frequently we're within pretty close range on compensation, and it's usually to Sean's point, sometimes it's like they're like, Oh, you're going to pay me more than I want, and it's like yeah, that's what we pay. Like I don't want. I like my general philosophy...

...to you, to your point, Kim is like I want to be able pronount everybody salary and put it in the kitchen and everybody look at him be like yeah, that makes sense and and I know that we can't do that because people are sensitive about that stuff, but that's my philosophy. So, with that in mind, the hardest part is when you're when there's that there's an expectation gap between where you think the person is maybe that maybe they want tenzero dollars more or a slightly different title, or maybe it's Fifteenzero, whatever it is. They they have bigger expectations than where you thought you saw them coming in, in which case I usually have a pretty like candid conversation. It's like cool, I'm you know, if I really think you're capable of doing this, and you think you're capable of doing this, let me explain to you what's going to happen. I'll do that and I'm going to have higher expectations on you and this is what I'm going to expect and if you don't think that you can do live up to these expectations, we're probably going to have a very uncomfortable conversation in ninety days, in the next ninety days. But if you think that that's what you're worth and your and what I found is most people are pretty selfaware and they're like yeah, like I'm sorry that I interviewed poorly and you thought that I'm here, but I'm here, and then they come in and you're like, Holy Shit, how did we get it so wrong during the interview process? And they're great. In other cases, yeah, they they overinflated themselves and you're going to have an uncomfortable conversation. But in general, I've I've yet to be in that situation where I've had that candid conversation with someone said look, that's cool, but these are my expectations. They if they haven't let me down. Now there's been times where I've been like I can't afford that, like I get that that's where you are, I get that's what you're at, and the fact is I can't, like, we just can't make that work. That's a totally different thing. But yeah, yeah, couple things on that. So one, you know, obviously we run a recruiting company, so we were constantly in the trenches of having these conversations, not just with candidates but coaching, coaching our customers and the hiring managers, because I think one of the things that we see to is one you know, if you're recruiting team isn't really getting that information from the start up front, you know you're just going to waste a lot of people's time to the process. That needs to be that needs to be communicated early on make sure that final stage, that final process, that person already knows, like from the first couple of days of this candidate in and interviewing. Okay, this is what this individuals looking for. Is it? Is it even feasible, because some of the rest right now are just outlandish. But beyond that, you made a good point. Can because I think it's important to have that communication between the recruiters and the technical leaders, because they there needs to be this understanding of what the market's doing and it's happening very fast and so they the you know, the VP of engineering might not be so privy to the fact that, you know, just in the last few months, you know, we're seeing this type of an uptick and it's happening every single day. We're getting these kind of responses. You know, they're not maybe two into that as much as the recruiter is, because they're getting that true market feedback constantly. So I think that back and forth communication. But then as far as like try and think of creative ways and negotiate beyond just the COMP, think it plays into this conversation we're talking about today. It's like, what is the growth potential here? Because, you know, if you want to think about, you know, hiring for a long term role, paint the picture for the person and get them excited and if you can't do that, you know, then there's probably this not a good not a good chance that this person is going to be their long term. It would just be more of a what is my what's my immediate comp and then, you know, that's what I care about, versus the promotion. The promotion track that we've got, you know, forecast of for your specific role comes with some very aggressive comp increases or this type of a bump in in a year two. Just so they have something that they can realistically look forward to. I think that's something that especially in startup world right where it's like there's clearly opportunity for advancement here. You just need to understand it going in, so that you're not just going in for this role today, you're going in for the role that you're going to be here for the next three to five years. And I actually I want to clarify something. I think there's a big difference between the inhouse recruiters Negotia, and the the external like when I work with an External Agency, I want to work with the external agency. I want them to have that conversation. They're going to be able to be a good mental man in a way or a middle person in a way that I can't, and so it's a very different thing when it's what I don't want is for someone who is working with you, going to work for me, have so much of their initial impression of the company based on their experience with someone else that's already at the company, which might you know. I prefer them have that with me. Now, if it's an external recruiter, that this is what they do day in and day out. Happy to leverage to that, and I think that's an important thing and that's one of the advantages of using a firm or an agencyfully, they can identify all those curveballs early. So even is total things that are not comp related, like all right, let's talk about that before we go through...

...an interview. For us, I mean, that's right, that's that's the whole point of an like, if an agency is giving me candidates that I can't use, like, then by am I using this agency? I think that's exactly, you know, I mean, so I got a bigger problem there. Exactly. I think that was like internal recruiting. It's just like yeah, we're trying to find these curveballs early and have that conversation early say like, okay, this is what the person's expecting. Oh, they have this scenario that they want to play out, and being able to address that and you know, also in the early stage, is like working in like a mission based organization, like the mission, and actually what we're trying to do outside. So our brings it some of its own conversation. So, like it gets down to like, honestly, if we're looking at Ken, it's like, Oh, I need this, and we're talking salary to being it's like maybe this isn't actually the right fit for you because, like, we are very mission driven in that is part of the compensation. Yeah, of what we're trying to do. Yeah, it's interesting too, because a lot of like some of the maybe the mission driven and companies you can almost kind of correlate like like a nonprofit. Maybe right, they actually are the ones that maybe don't have as much funding or the money to pay the robust salary. But you know, your task as a recruiter is to drive in and dial in on the folks that have something in their background that's going to you know, they've worked health tech in the past and they clearly like, understand or they love music and they think that this music tech, you know, company is going to be, you know, place where they just really get behind the subject matter. You have to you have to drive that home with the the recruiting team because you know, otherwise they're just going to be picking and choosing anybody and that's when comp really becomes little out of control, when your shire mercenaries. Yeah, yeah, it's cut through out there. I'll tell you what, though. We're we've got an episode coming up that's all about compensation. So I'm pretty jazzed about it. Should be a pretty juicy discussion. But yeah, aside from that, you know, this has been a really good one. I you know, as I was sourcing for speakers for this episode, I had a couple of messages from, you know, some product management folks or telling me straight up like this is happening to me in real time. I'm really excited to hear what folks have to say about this getting layered concept. So I'm really happy that we were able to address it. I think it'll be helpful for a lot of our listeners and just want to thank you all so much for spending time with us. Is there any more specific on social that you want to got out where you know our guests can find you? Yeah, so I'm on twitter, a teck tock and instagram at lady cornfish. On twitter. It's a mix of tech and sports. Very easy. You feel a dodgers don't know, I don't talking about my liquers. And then tick and I'll just also like the intersections, intersectionality of being a woman, be queer, being Latin xt. Same thing on Tick Tock. It's mostly queer focus. Attach. Yeah, comes come see some que Chi, Wallas and me gripe about the Lakers and cheer on these feeling. That's awesome. The Shawn. We're about? Yourself? Oh, you'll find me almost nowhere. That's cool man, Linkedin K rock cool I. on that note, will leave no trays. We'll get the hell out of here. Thanks. Thanks for listening. Thanks for joining us, guys. Well, thanks, thank you. Thank you for listening to the pair program if you'd like to continue the conversation from this week's episode, you can do so with the hatch pad community. Join US at chat dot my hatch padcom.

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