How to hire a Director of Engineering, Data Platform, for a Series A company

Asha Martinez

Asha Martinez

4 min read

When Vareto set out to hire its first Director of Engineering for Data Platform, they knew it was a key hire for them and needed to make sure it was a success. Vareto had just gone through a Series A fundraising round and were ready to scale their Engineering and Data teams.

What kind of candidate Vareto was sourcing for, and why?

As a product-led growth (PLG) company serving FP&A (Financial planning and analysis) teams and their business partners, Vareto was looking for candidates from other PLG companies in the categories of fintech, analytics or work collaboration tools.

As they are envisioning this key hire to help scale Vareto’s Data Platform function, it was crucial to source for someone who’s been through the hypergrowth stage at their previous companies, and ideally stayed through for a couple of years from Series A to at least Series C onwards. A candidate who is poachable from a Series A startup for instance, will not be a strong fit.

Translating the ideal candidate profile into nuanced, searchable criteria

After several rounds of iteration, the ideal candidate profile was distilled into the following candidate search criteria:

  • Came from PLG Companies that are fintech, analytics or collaboration focused
  • Came from companies that are at least Series B or later
  • Been through fast-growing stages of a company
  • Currently has job title of Director or Sr Manager
  • At least 3+ years of experience in management
  • At least 9+ years of experience in total

With a typical boolean search on Linkedin, it will take keywords like "data", or “database”, and then searching by job titles such as Engineering Director, Head of Engineering, Sr Manager Engineering etc.

Looking for PLG Companies in the categories of fintech, analytics or work collaboration tools will require some research and building out of company lists. A typical search will yield 5 to 10 companies in each category.

Note: With Covey’s powerful talent search engine, Vareto’s recruiter didn’t have to manually talent source for candidates who meet these criteria on linkedin. Instead, Covey crawled hundreds of millions of profiles (like google search for people), and found ~40 candidates per week for Vareto to reach out to.

Cold Outreach

The challenge with cold outreach, especially on recruiting-specific platforms like LinkedIn, is the overwhelming number of messages good engineers receive on them. Instead of doing that, Vareto chose to cold outreach to these sourced and passive candidates on Linkedin through their email addresses. For messages to stand out, Vareto personalized it to highlight why a candidate should consider Vareto, the scale of the role, as well as included press articles and noteworthy mentions.

Using Covey’s cold outreach, each candidate was scheduled 3 emails. It takes an average of 2 to 3 emails before a candidate would reply.


Vareto was able to talk to 3 to 5 candidates per week who fulfilled the 6 criteria above, and eventually hired a candidate in less than 8 weeks.

🔷 Chat with Covey if you’d like to learn more.

🔷 Find out how Vareto picked Covey amongst other recruiting platforms on the market.

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