Questions to Answer Before Hiring a VP Product (and Mistakes to Avoid)

At Riviera Partners, we frequently speak with founders who are exploring whether the time is right to hire their company’s first VP Product. Our job is to help break that belief into component parts to address the fundamental question: “What problem are you looking to solve with a VP Product hire?”

If the answer is yes to one of the following, you are likely not ready for a VP Product:

“We are pre-product-market fit and need a visionary to help us identify the right product(s) to build.” (you are likely too early for a VP Product.)

“We don’t have any PM’s, so we need someone to come in and hire the team in a short time period because I don’t know how to vet PM’s.” (If you don’t have any PM’s, you don’t need a VP.)

“We just raised our Series A and want to capitalize on the press to make a splashy hire.” (Timing search outreach with a funding announcement is helpful, but only if true need has been ID’d.)

“My investors told me I needed a VP Product.” (We hear this more than you’d think.)

Responses like these immediately send up red flags because the problems that a company is looking to solve for are not fully defined by the above reasoning. The most successful VP Product searches that we engage on begin when a company achieves some level of traction, raises external capital (at least a Series A), and has built out their Engineering organization to 12-15+ people (usually including a VP Engineering). This is when structured product management becomes essential and is also likely the point at which the founder (who presumably has been running product), is running out of bandwidth to be in the weeds assigning bug fixes, writing PRD’s, and pow-wowing with the engineering team for hours at a time.

Letting go of day-to-day product oversight and focusing on the business can be tough, but is is one of the first major growth steps for founders. And although they might seem like the same thing, especially for a software company, the savviest founders (typically) are the ones who realize that the product and the business are two different things, and that both require full-time focus.

*Note* - there are exceptions to every rule, and some of the best founders are product-led CEO's who have maintained their involvement in product throughout the existence of their company (Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg come to mind). However even with that elite tier (and there are many others), over time as their companies grew, they reduced their time spent on individual product decisions, but still maintained the product vision and enforced the quality standard that users had been accustomed to.

Once that realization takes hold, and it becomes clear that the most value for the company will be created by the addition of a full-time product leader, the question becomes: “What do I need this person to do?” First and foremost, the founder needs someone to do the tactical work of product management. And, by the way, this person should likely be able to do a better job than the founder in this regard (because they should be more experienced at the function). This includes things like creating specs/product requirements documents/road-mapping, coordinating and setting the right cadence with engineering and design, putting KPI’s in place, making tough decisions on prioritization, and going extremely deep with customers/users.

If you feel like you have a good sense of the problems you are looking for your first product hire to solve (a need has been truly identified), the following are the next set of key questions:


Question 1: Do I need a VP, or is a strong PM enough for now?

When going to market for your first product hire, it’s critical that the framework for the role is carefully considered so that you evaluate and ultimately hire someone appropriately experienced for the current stage of your company.

Quite often, founders believe that their first product hire needs to be a VP who has set vision, strategy, hired big teams, and been the single-most differentiating factor in delivering a product that can win in the market. But here’s the reality––this person is probably not right for an early stage company and is likely not get-able either. VP-level product leaders are no longer as operational or hands-on as an early-stage company needs them to be. They are accustomed to managing larger teams with broader resources. Most importantly, they expect to own the entire product vision to even be interested in the opportunity. The success that your company has had thus far has been due to the vision that has been implemented by you, the founder.  It’s important to not give that up too soon by hiring someone who will only be excited by the role if they are the owner of that vision.

This is why clearly asking: “What am I solving for?” is such an important question. Rather than shooting for the moon by trying––probably unsuccessfully––to hire the most experienced and seasoned VP possible, founders should be looking for an exceptional hands-on product manager who is comfortable following their lead on the vision, and who can help buy time back in their day by excelling at the day-to-day PM activities. Someone who has shown the ability to manage a small team, knows how to vet product managers, and has seen success (i.e. they have worked on successful products), and can work in resource-constrained environments under the direction and vision of the founder.

In reality, the ideal candidate for most Series A companies is a person who could grow into a true VP over time - after all, they will have the most knowledge of your organization and your customers. By making this profile of person your first product hire, followed by two or three more, you will move your business forward significantly. This profile of product leader matches the company stage and brings PM know-how to the organization, commitment to your vision, and is able to free up time so that you can focus on driving the rest of the business. It’s also worth noting that having multiple effective product managers on your team makes your company significantly more attractive to a potential VP Product hire in the future.

Hopefully by now you have realized the importance of hiring for both for the appropriate stage of your company and having at least one strong, execution-focused PM on your team before considering a VP. After that, the question becomes: “If not now, when?”


Question 2: When is the right time to hire a VP Product?

Though you have hired a product manager or two to execute the day-to-day product work, they are still probably reporting to you (the founder). And, because you still own the product vision, you find yourself more involved in the day-to-day of running the product organization than you would like to be. You may begin to realize that you (like most first-time founders) have probably never actually managed product managers before and therefore don’t know how to develop them into strong product leaders. In addition, your product is starting to gain more traction, and you may be considering launching ancillary product lines (where prioritization/coordination across multiple products becomes critical) and/or or moving upstream into a completely new market that represents great opportunity (i.e. consumer to enterprise). You may be hiring more PMs to focus on specific elements of the product and the ratio between engineering and product management is becoming untenable.

All of these factors indicate the need for a strong product leader to join the company.


Question 3: Should the VP Product mainly just run the product function and manage the PM’s while executing my vision, or should the VP Product own the vision and the strategic direction for the product as well?

From a hiring perspective, the more control and authority you are willing to give your VP Product, the stronger (or more experienced) a candidate you will likely be able to attract. But it’s not just about asking what’s necessary to attract a star––you have to be realistic about whether or not this is something you can live with.

To be clear, you will hopefully be owning the high-level strategic vision of the company, regardless of the VP Product. But at some point, the product becomes too complex and nuanced, the market landscape has evolved, and the customer needs have become so varied that your original vision of the product starts to become either stale, outdated, or both. Once you start losing day-to-day contact with the end user or customer you might seriously consider allowing the VP Product to own the product vision going forward. As the founder (and usually CEO), you are still responsible for strategy at the corporate level.  But, if the team is spending significantly more time with customers, dealing with feature enhancements, product requests, living and breathing daily usage metrics, it’s time to let the VP Product be the one who defines the product. As mentioned above, this doesn't mean that the founder needs to remove themselves completely - there are still critical elements around quality and consistency that users have come to expect with the original vision. But the person who is closest to the end user will have the best pulse on what to build and how to deliver that product(s) to market.

There is one added incentive for you to remove yourself from day-to-day decision-making about the product: if the lead PM decision-maker is also the founder, there will be fewer mechanisms in place to prevent bad ideas from taking shape, because most everyone will obey when an order is issued. This is why the exceptional VP's of Product need to be so strong at influencing within a company. While they aren’t managing their cross-functional peers in engineering (or Sales, Marketing, Customer Success, etc.), they need to be able to collaborate effectively, and get everyone upwards, downwards, and horizontally to row in the same direction through the powers of persuasion and partnership, not authority.



Summary: Rules to live by when hiring product leadership:

  1. Avoid hiring a VP Product too early in your company’s lifecycle.
  2. Have a clear answer to the question: “What am I trying to solve with this hire?”
  3. Perfect is the enemy of Great: consider the opportunity cost you are facing when shooting for the most senior VP Product hire out there. Not only are you likely wasting precious time looking for a candidate that isn’t right for your company stage, but you are missing critical opportunities around prioritization, defining product success, and answering the fundamental questions like: “What should be building, and what shouldn’t we build (discovered through rigorous test/learn methodologies)?” Waiting too long to bring on strong individual contributor-level product managers, in hopes that you will land a VP, could be the difference between raising that next round or watching your competition pass you by.


This article was written by Andrew Abramson, who has placed Product Management executives at companies like Airbnb, Lyft, GitHub, Flexport, Brex, and many more. Feel free to reach out to Andrew with any questions, comments, or feedback at

Recognizing True Value Creators

There is a reason companies have to compete so hard for senior tech talent: the best tech talent creates the most value. We are often asked to search for the “perfect tech leader”. Someone who can lead the next big product development effort, lead a company’s digital transformation, create disruptive products, or take the company’s products in new and exciting directions. Underlying each of these asks is a fundamental business need. A company’s ability to build products that engage customers, solve problems, transform business models or introduce totally new ways to address market needs requires top-notch engineering and product leadership.  


The most talented technology leaders are uniquely able to translate a company’s vision into high value products and services.  Beyond tech expertise, leaders that create true enterprise value also bring other leadership traits to the table. When we look for leaders to drive engineering and product initiatives for our clients, we look for individuals who have:


A vision of the possible – True innovation requires the ability to see past the limitations of current products, markets, methodologies and even technologies. Tech leaders that drive the most value are those that can embrace the possible and articulate a way to achieve it through technology.


The ability to create teams of innovators – The best leaders not only embrace the possible, they encourage team experimentation and creative approaches to achieving stated goals. Tech leaders who create the most value build teams of talented individuals who are also driven to achieve the best results through creative use of technology, systems and resources. In short, the best tech and product leaders can recruit and build teams that deliver.


A commitment to clear goals – Innovators are creators. Artists. Finding tech leaders who are able to translate their love of innovation to real business achievements is essential. They need to be able to commit to a clear path and focus their team on achieving specific goals.  Creativity that delivers value is applied to goals and leverages innovative approaches to achieving them.


The ability to scale and manage complexity – in today’s growing companies there is often greater demand than there are resources to meet it. This is true when defining a product’s features, allocating resources and prioritizing deliverables. Conflicting priorities can make engineering teams whiplash between ever-changing goals. Tech leaders that create the most value are able to interpret the demands of the business, prioritize and rally engineering and product to deliver.


Not to be lost here, fundamental character traits such as integrity, professional pride, communication skills, and empathy for others are key requirements for success.  Maybe most importantly, we find that tech leaders that have demonstrated grit throughout their career have often delivered the greatest value. Innovation is hard. Innovation that creates maximum value is harder still. Those leaders who are able to create real enterprise value are highly-sought after and command compensation commensurate with their technical and leadership capabilities. In the long run, these leaders prove they are worth a higher investment because of the value they deliver for customers and the equity value they create for investors and stakeholders. It’s this caliber of leader that we take great pleasure in delivering for our clients.

Redefining Recruiting

For those of you who follow us, you know that Riviera is deeply immersed in the tech community.  Working with the top investors and venture funds across the nation, we’ve placed tech leaders who have brought hundreds of innovations to market and built incredibly valuable companies as part of the journey.  Creative approaches to funding the next big idea are as important as the idea itself. While technology is the engine of innovation, it requires capital to fuel it.


Nearly two decades ago, Riviera Partners was started with a singular vision;  deliver the best service and experience for clients, candidates and recruiters.  For what purpose? To help people and companies reach their full potential.


We quickly realized the best way to achieve this vision was through technology––technology to identify, qualify and place talented tech leaders.  We’ve learned a lot along the way, but we’ve never wavered in our commitment to building a platform and a network of relationships that make it easier for great organizations to hire the best talent.  Our proprietary Sutro™ recruiting platform uses data science and machine learning to identify top engineering, product and design candidates from our network of over 600k relationships. Capturing data from all candidate, client and recruiter interactions across the firm, Sutro quickly recommends a short list of highly qualified, expertly-matched candidates, along with deep insights.  We are able to do it faster than any other firm. Our clients work with us over and over again because they’re confident that they’ll make a great hire. Our methodology, relationships and technology works. Our logic is sound. Our plan is on track. And, we’re proud of our success.


Companies are more than great ideas. It takes talented people, proven methodologies and creativity to turn ideas into companies and companies into industry leaders. It also takes trusted financial partners. We couldn’t be happier to partner with Kayne and ROCA Partners whose belief in our vision, people, and methodology, as well as confidence in our proprietary platform, led them to invest in Riviera Partners. This funding is a key part of our strategic plan for growth and future development.


Technology leaders are essential creators of value in any organization.  We definitely have the right focus. We believe that our specialization in technology leadership, our heritage in the Silicon Valley tech industry, our people, process and platform are unmatched. It’s been an amazing ride so far, and we’re just getting started.


Thanks Nishita, Ravi and the rest of the team for helping us take this important step forward.

A Reflection and An Eye to the Future

When we started Riviera Partners in 2002, we set out to build a company with a completely different approach to recruiting. Starting out, we made some key decisions that now, in hindsight, look pretty smart (but at the time we were sweating it).  From the beginning we didn’t see ourselves as a traditional search firm, and we didn’t want our clients or the candidates we serve to see us that way either. We wanted to approach the market differently, with a unique operating model, and we wanted to develop a culture focused on delivering the best service and experience possible.  


The first decision was to specialize. We decided to focus exclusively on engineering and product recruiting. This meant turning away potential clients (which was tough when we were starting out and our goal was just to keep the lights on). But, the decision allowed us to go deep in tech and establish relationships with talented engineering and product people. We become students of those functions, beyond learning who the best people were we learned why certain organizations stood out from engineering and product perspectives.  Ultimately, this has enabled us to work with some of the most seminal technology companies in the country––those that have disrupted existing markets or created new ones. We’re fortunate to have built relationships with these technologists and to have partnered with these companies.


We needed a platform that could give our recruiters and clients visibility to the very best candidates. We wanted to provide total transparency to clients through the recruiting process so they could make the best hiring decisions. We knew efficiency and collaboration were critical to our success. We needed a platform that enabled our recruiters to access the most complete and current data about each candidate. And, we needed a way to share information between recruiters, candidates and companies. We knew we would have to build something proprietary.  At first there many non-believers both inside and outside Riviera. Many times we were advised to buy an off-the-shelf solution rather than dedicate the time and resources necessary to build our own. But, our decision to build our proprietary platform paid off and now we have a powerful platform that uses machine learning and years of collected data to identify and match companies and candidates. Our investment has made us efficient and made the quality of our service consistent across all of our recruiters.


We also knew that we wanted a very different culture than the transactional top-down agency models of the past. We established a vision––delivering the best service and experience––and purpose––helping people and companies reach their full potential.  These served as our North Star over the years.


Everything we did––from our search approach, to our technology investments, to the people we hire, and how we train them to operate was, and still is, based on that original vision and purpose.  We give our team members the latitude to operate without defined rules, within the context of our vision and purpose. And, we’ve proven that our culture attracts the best and brightest people who are motivated to build long-lasting, successful partnerships with clients and candidates. I’m really proud to work with the Riviera team.


I’m super excited about the investment we announced today.  For me it is validation of the early choices we made as an organization and our dedication to making our early vision of Riviera a reality today.  I’m not only satisfied with the choices we made in the past; I’m excited about our team, culture, and our vision of where we’re going.


As I absorb the implications of this investment I am reminded of the importance of humility and showing up each day knowing there is always something to learn, people to learn from, and more that we can do to improve our craft.  I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Roca and Kayne to the Riviera team, and I look forward to what we’ll build in the future together.


#1 Technology Executive Search Firm in New York City

Working with IT executive recruiters allows companies to tap into specialist talent pools and hire the very best candidates. The most effective leaders often aren’t looking for new roles which means they can’t be found through traditional search. But by working with top executive recruiters that have an extensive specialized network, your company can attract high caliber technology professionals. In this article, we look at how to source executive headhunters with the right expertise for your needs.


Why Work with an IT Executive Search Firm?

IT executive recruiters help businesses to source and hire the top technology talent in their industry. They differ from traditional executive recruiters because they focus solely on the IT or technology sectors. This means that they have an in-depth understanding of the industry and can identify the most suitable candidates for a role. They will also have an existing network of technical professionals that they have established relationships with. This enables them to reach the very best leaders and technical specialists with the right experience and professional qualities.

Qualified IT professionals are in high demand. According to research by LinkedIn, four out of five of the most sought-after skills relate to information technology. These include cloud and distributed computing, middleware and integration software, web architecture and development frameworks, and user interface design. This competitive environment means it’s harder than ever to attract and retain top talent, especially for leadership positions. But working with IT executive recruiting specialists can make it easier.

IT executive recruiters will understand your industry in a way that generalist headhunters can’t match. Their search executives spend everyday sourcing CTO, CIO, and CDO candidates. They continually develop IT job descriptions, review IT resumes, and cultivate IT relationships. This means that their understanding of technical role nuances and the unique needs of technology companies is unparalleled. The best executive recruiters that specialize in IT can even advise organizations on the skills, qualities, and experience that are likely to be needed in a role. They understand succession planning, strategies for building leadership teams, and how to streamline the search process. This consultative approach to human resources helps businesses to source the ideal leadership talent, even if they aren’t quite sure what they’re looking for. It’s especially helpful for new start-ups and rapidly expanding technology companies that are building new teams.

Executive recruiting also relies on the firm’s candidate network. If a search agency has established relationships in the IT industry, then they’ll be able to find talent that generalist recruiters simply can’t. Their executive search team will have relationships with leading C-suite executives, leaders, and technical professionals. This allows them to reach out to ideal candidates, even if these people aren’t actively looking for new executive jobs. Because they know potential employees on a personal level, they can sell roles to them by appealing to their values and ambitions, rather than just a monetary incentive. This helps to attract long-term leaders who are driven by the success of a business and not just their bonus. Having access to a talent pool of IT industry specialists and high-performers enables companies to hire the very best. Organizations can tap into a higher-caliber network of job seekers and select from the cream of the crop.


How Do You Find the Right Agency?

There are a variety of retained executive search firms out there, all offering different services and bringing varied strengths to the table. With so many to choose from, how can you tell which one is right for your needs? The key is to identify your recruiting requirements up front and then request information from companies that can fulfill your needs. Let’s look at some of the criteria to consider.


Industry Knowledge

Even within the IT and tech sectors, there are a wide variety of sub-sectors and industry niches. Manufacturing, oil and gas, renewable energy, software development, and cybersecurity are just a few. It’s important to choose a technology executive search agency with knowledge and experience of your industry. They will be able to match employers with all-star candidates that drive value and inspire their teams.

Candidate Network

It’s also important to find a firm with the right candidate network. Generalist recruiting firms may boast about the size of their candidate pool, but how many will be qualified for your IT role? Drilling down will likely reveal that they don’t have many connections in the technology sector, renewable fuels, or whatever your niche happens to be. But specialist IT executive recruiters like us will be able to tell you exactly how many candidates we know in your particular sector.

Speed & Responsiveness

The speed and responsiveness of a search agency can make a huge difference to talent acquisition. If you’re looking to hire quickly, then you’ll need to know that your firm has the same level of urgency. Ask about the average time it takes them to secure new hires so that you have a benchmark to compare the different agencies. It’s also worth enquiring about whether they have set service level agreements (SLAs) for responding to client emails or phone calls. This will help you find the firm with an approach to customer service that meets your expectations.

Recruitment & Vetting Approach

Another point to consider is their overall approach to recruitment. How do they go about understanding your candidate requirements? What process do their search professionals use for sourcing and vetting potential applicants? How do they handle the negotiation and on-boarding process? This can help you to assess whether they’ll take care of the entire technology recruiting process or just support in gathering resumes. By considering which of these criteria are important to your business, you’ll find it much easier to source the right recruitment partner.


What Makes Riviera Partners Different?

Riviera Partners is one of the leading technology executive recruiters in New York City. We’re committed to finding the best possible leaders for tech businesses and pride ourselves on delivering strong results for clients. We are trusted by industry all-stars and brand new start-ups alike to source top technology talent who will drive real value in their organizations. Our clients include big brands like Bloomberg, Squarespace, ClassPass, Shazam, and WeWork. So why do leading tech companies choose us to find their most valuable team members?



It’s this compelling combination that makes us one of the leading technology executive search firms in the USA. We’ve placed hundreds of high-level, VP, and C-suite professionals with technology companies and can help to do the same for yours. Riviera Partners provides an unmatched search and placement service for clients which is why we’ve become the top executive recruiters in tech. 


IT Executive Headhunters

We help established technology companies as well as brand new start-ups to recruit high-caliber leaders. As specialist technical recruiters, we can source candidates at the top level. So, whether you’re looking for senior executives, a vice president, or managing director, our search team can help.

For the last decade, we’ve played a role in building the hottest start-ups and most well-known tech companies in North America. We believe everyone deserves to have a job they love, so we’ve built a next-generation executive search and leadership recruiting platform. It matches job hunters with the exacting needs of tech companies, across all IT industries and functions. It’s designed to introduce organizations like yours to brilliant minds in order to solve difficult challenges. With offices in LA, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and Bozeman, Montana, we’re sure to find the perfect candidate for your company.

Riviera’s exclusive focus on technology executive search services means we bring decades of collective domain experience. We have tens of thousands of executive relationships and the accumulated data of hundreds of thousands of interactions with technology leaders to bear for our clients on every search. Exceptional technology executives possess a rare combination of leadership experience and demonstrated technical achievement, making them difficult to find and even harder to evaluate. But our recommendation system picks up on the explicit and implicit signals throughout each search to help our clients understand what they really need and our recruiters to find it quickly.

We’re a results-driven technology search agency with a passion for helping clients to reach their full potential. Our drive, our exclusive focus on technology leadership, our unmatched domain expertise, our unparalleled relationship network, combined with our reliance on data-driven insights and artificial intelligence to optimize your search, means that when you work with Riviera, you know you’ll make a great hire. We are relentlessly focused on our clients’ success.

Get in touch with our team of IT executive recruiters today to find your next all-star tech leader.

Women in Technology: Are we really making enough progress?

Last month we celebrated both International Women’s Day and the United States National Women’s Equality month.  And, over the last few years, we’ve read hundreds of statistics about the challenges faced by women as they compete with male peers for leadership positions, equal pay, and influence in the boardroom. There is abundant evidence that women perform as well as their male counterparts, and that companies that have more women in their executive ranks actually perform better. Virtually every company we work with has a strategic directive to hire more women in leadership. Yet, research shows that the percentage of women serving in senior leadership roles is still dismally low.  In a recent survey of 2300 enterprise organizations, only 18% of senior leadership positions (CXO, vice presidents, directors and senior managers) are held by women1.  Women leaders are great for business – so why aren’t more women in leadership positions?

Giving this some serious thought, I’ve got some ideas about the factors that contributed to the dearth of women in tech, and how we might work to prepare more women for leadership in the future.

Unconscious Bias – While there are few organizations that would say that they prefer male leadership, actually doing something about it is far more difficult. Unconscious bias is defined as stereotypes about people that we form outside of our conscious awareness. It automatically happens outside of our control as our brain makes a quick judgment influenced by our own history, according to Valerie Martinelli2. A majority of today’s senior technology leaders’ careers matured during a time when few women participated in technical positions, meaning most of our history is with male technical leaders. As leaders, we can control conscious discrimination, but unconscious bias may creep in when we least expect it.  It may be that a woman is less likely to be consulted on a very technical engineering project or asked to lead critical decisions about architecture, product direction or functionality. To fight unconscious bias, leaders must be keenly aware and be active in their decision making. As recruiters, we are chartered to bring forth great candidates who are qualified, regardless of gender.  We can then coach hiring managers to look at skill and fit and evaluate women and men fairly when making a hiring decision.

Equal Compensation – Compensation is one of the toughest things to track and equalize.  Every person contributes at an individual level and is rewarded during the course of their career for their effort.  If a person has lagged behind peers in compensation, yet contributed equally, a job change may be perfect opportunity to level the playing field.  When we place a senior leader, we can calculate a proper range of high, median and low compensation and guide the hiring organization accordingly. Ultimately, we are able to place candidates with packages that track to their individual skill set, fit and potential contribution to the company and that are equal to other similar employees. Gender is never considered.  Forward-thinking organizations are using these same types of rubrics to develop compensation strategies for their employees and new hires.

Preparing the next generation – One of the harsh realities of gender equality in the workplace has to do with finding enough qualified women who are interested in technical positions. We need a broader community of women with deep technical expertise and business acumen who desire to be tomorrow’s technical leaders.  The current tech industry is comprised of only 25% women, and engineering jobs are even worse with only 14% of engineers being women. While improving, the numbers don’t reflect rapid change.  In 1990 12% of engineers were women and in 2018 the number reached only 14%. And, the share of women has actually decreased in one of the highest-paying and fastest-growing STEM clusters—general computer occupations. In the past 27 years, the percentage of women working in computer-related occupations has dropped from 32% to 25%, which is disheartening when you consider the rise of the tech industry3.  To hire more women in tomorrow’s technology roles, we need to get more women interested in STEM and engineering.  We are advocates of engineering programs that encourage female participation through career guidance, focused classwork, extra-curricular clubs, organizations, women’s professional networks and associations. With more highly-skilled female engineers, hiring managers will start to see more women leaders in their ranks.

We are dedicated to being part of the solution at Riviera.  Not only do we work with the companies to identify and hire qualified female engineers, we also have the largest community of qualified female technology leaders in our network.  We have access to compensation data and are able to guide both companies and candidates when it comes time to extend a fair offer. And, we’re leading the discussion. Today we are delighted to host Beyond Salons in New York.  With our partners Google and Athena Alliance, we will host a diverse group of women in a dialogue about career growth for women in technology that includes leadership positions, membership on the board and participation in technology’s vibrant venture market.

We all agree that bringing more women to technology leadership positions is the right thing – for many reasons.  Achieving true equality in the tech field is a multi-faceted, complex challenge. Achieving equality will require dedication and creativity from universities, companies, recruiters and the men and women who represent the engineering profession.

  1. IBM 2019, Women in Leadership Research Insights

Top Technology Executive Search Agency & Technical Recruiter

Having the right senior managers in place can be the difference between success and failure. At Riviera Partners, we specialize in technology executive search services and pride ourselves on matching leadership talent with high-performing tech companies. We have a proven track record of technology recruitment that facilitates the right hires quickly from our extensive pool of qualified candidates.

Why Work With A Technical Recruiter?


Working with a technology executive search firm enables you to hire the right candidate quickly and easily. Traditional executive recruiting firms don’t tend to have the industry network or talent pool to facilitate the process efficiently. But a technology search agency will have the connections and know-how to source top talent, whether that’s a senior level executive or potential board member.

Speed is especially important when you’ve had an injection of venture capital and want to put it to good use immediately. An investment in senior leadership will pay off in both the short and long-term but finding the right people isn’t always easy. Demand for STEM graduates is growing which makes the technology job market a competitive landscape. Working with a technology search agency like us removes the risk and headaches from the process. We vet all potential candidates against your search criteria to ensure that only fully qualified and highly suitable professionals are put forward. This means that there’s zero risk of wasting time on interviewing unsuitable talent.

Types of Companies That Can Benefit


The technology industry is growing at an exciting pace and offers huge opportunities for companies that can move quickly. However, this speed also presents a challenge as it can be hard to keep up. An inability to evolve with the market is a recipe for failure but technology recruitment can help address this challenge. For businesses that want to grow and develop, working with executive recruiters on talent acquisition can help to maintain a competitive advantage.

At Riviera Partners, we work with companies in a range of different technology sectors, including:

Our technology recruitment services have helped some of the biggest and most recognized tech companies to hire their senior leaders. We’ve worked on search engagements that enabled industry-leading organizations to grow and transform so that they could reach their strategic goals. By working closely with our expert search consultants and executive recruiters, they’ve been able to find the right hires that accelerated their growth.

Technology Recruitment - How We Do It


We use proven search practices and our vast industry network to source the very best candidates for tech roles. As a leading technology search agency, we’ve established strong relationships with the best talent in the sector. This enables us to connect technology companies with top-performers whatever their requirements are. Our tech recruiting team can also advise you on the best approach to your search that’ll maximize your chances of success. If you’re unsure exactly what you’re looking for, then we’ll take a consultative approach to help you clarify your requirements, develop a job description for the role, and even support succession planning.

As a leading technology executive search firm, we’ve also developed proprietary software to streamline the process. Our state-of-the-art tech facilitates clear communication between our recruiting firm, clients, and stakeholders. This gives you a level of visibility that’s unmatched by any other technical recruiter. The software utilizes machine learning to distill our 20 years of experience into complex search algorithms. This amplifies the effectiveness of our retained executive search team and enables them to work faster and more efficiently than anyone else.

Why We’re Different


At Riviera Partners, we specialize in technology recruitment and are fully committed to ensuring our clients’ success. Our approach is different to most other corporate recruiters because we utilize tech to its fullest potential. This software-driven approach combined with our extensive candidate network enables us to find talent that others simply can’t. As an industry-leading technology search agency, we can help clients in a number of ways.

Our industry expertise and specialist knowledge mean there’s no risk of making a bad hire. Our technology executive search services are designed to take the time and hassle out of recruitment. By leveraging proprietary software and our vast network of job seekers, we help companies to source and secure the top talent. Our professional recruitment team aims to create an ideal client and candidate match. By choosing a technical recruiter with our reach, your company has the best chance of finding the perfect candidate for every role.


Trusted by Leading Tech Companies

Leading tech companies love our forward-thinking approach to leadership sourcing, which has helped us to become one of the top executive recruiters in Silicon Valley and across the USA. We’re driven by finding the highest caliber professionals for IT and technical positions who will contribute to an organization’s success. Sourcing individuals with the right experience, education, and leadership qualities isn’t easy but we have the resources to make it happen. We’re trusted by industry giants and newly established start-ups alike to find and secure the top tech talent out there. Our clients include huge brands and innovators like Bloomberg, Shazam, ClassPass, Squarespace, and WeWork. So, what is it that attracts leading tech businesses to work with us in their recruitment efforts?

Technology Executive Search Specialists


We help established technology companies as well as brand new start-ups to recruit high-caliber leaders. As a specialist technical recruiter, we can source candidates at the top level. So, whether you’re looking for chief innovation officers, technology officers, senior executives, or a vice president, our search team can help.

For the last decade, we’ve played a role in building the hottest start-ups and most well-known tech companies around. We believe everyone deserves to have a job they love, so we’ve built a next-generation recruiting platform that matches job hunters with the exacting needs of tech companies. It’s designed to introduce organizations like yours to brilliant minds in order to solve difficult challenges. With offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and Bozeman, Montana, we’re sure to find the perfect candidate for your company.

Riviera’s exclusive focus on technology executive search services means we bring decades of collective domain experience. We have tens of thousands of executive relationships and the accumulated data of hundreds of thousands of interactions with technology leaders to bear for our clients on every search. Exceptional technology executives possess a rare combination of leadership experience and demonstrated technical achievement, making them difficult to find and even harder to evaluate. But our recommendation system picks up on the explicit and implicit signals throughout each search to help our clients understand what they really need and our recruiters to find it quickly.

We’re a results-driven technology search agency with a passion for helping clients to reach their full potential. Our drive, our exclusive focus on technology leadership, our unmatched domain expertise, our unparalleled relationship network, combined with our reliance on data-driven insights and artificial intelligence to optimize your search, means that when you work with Riviera, you know you’ll make a great hire.  We are relentlessly focused on our clients’ success.

Get in touch with our specialist technology recruitment team today to find your next all-star tech leader.

Three Ingredients of a Great Placement Partner

The most successful placements are the ones where the organization is able to attract and hire a leader with not only the correct technical skillset, but also the ability to translate the company’s mission and vision into unique IP that supports the company’s growth. These leaders must inspire architects, engineers, product leaders, executives and often the board. They must be keenly focused on building the products that can change the status quo and define their market in new ways.  Hiring the right leader in these key positions can literally be the catalyst for breaking through mediocrity and achieving a company’s highest potential.

Riviera takes the challenge head on every day.  Today we announced our best year to date, and the addition of four new partners to our leadership team. We couldn’t be happier and thankful about both.  So, what does a highly-skilled and successful placement firm look for when building their own partner ranks? The answer is simple to define, but harder to achieve.

I believe that to be able to place the best of the best, a recruiter needs three key ingredients:

First, technology.  The ability to leverage technology, data and insights to build a short list of pre-vetted, qualified candidates gives our partners a head start on even the toughest placements.  Using machine learning to identify and recommend candidates that meet the explicit and implicit requirements of the position, as well as the stage and culture of the company, helps to create a strong working candidate list right out of the gate.

Second, a network.  There are thousands of very talented technologists in the workforce. A recruiter may touch hundreds of them each year. Being able to leverage a large community of candidates, references, peers and influencers around any given position helps recruiters to identify and vet candidates and strengthen the short list quickly.  Trusted relationships within the industry, supported by data and access to the firm’s knowledge base, ensures that a partner is identifying only the best candidates for a company’s unique needs.

Third, knowledge.  To confidently identify and recommend technical leaders, recruiters must have sufficient technical knowledge juxtaposed with business acumen including a strong sense of fit. Understanding both the technical skills that are required and the business significance of those skills is an imperative.  This combination of knowledge allows a recruiter to identify candidates that fit the culture and the mission, and who can drive the company’s product vision to help it achieve its greatest success. In today’s world, the technical and business skills are two sides of the same coin. Both are essential for a successful placement that creates long term value for all concerned.

I am pleased to add four new partners to our proven bench: Isa Guardalabene, Jason Hann, Sandy Ma, and Sophie Thomas. Over the last seventeen years, we have honed our collective skills by leveraging our proprietary technology, building a vast network of technical leaders who are inventing new products and driving digital transformation, and our shared knowledge about how companies work and grow.  The result is a great team that is able to meet the challenge of placing some of the most pivotal leaders in today’s most important companies.

Congratulations Isa, Jason, Sandy and Sophie.  You’ve earned it!

The 3 biggest recruitment challenges facing CTOs

International Women's Day Brings Awareness

In November 2017, I wrote this blog post about how to build diverse and inclusive teams. Today, on International Woman’s Day 2019, I have paused to take inventory of where we are as a culture and especially in the tech industry. Based on recent  reports from SVB, IBM and Trust Radius, it’s clear that we still have work to do. Real change requires more than good intentions.

According to IBM, about twelve percent of organizations are “First Movers” in creating diverse workforces and leadership teams.  They’re achieving great results!

What about the other 88% of workforces? Many seem to be aware and interested in creating a diverse workforce, but desire needs to turn into action.

There are many other statistics out there, but they all point to the fact that real change takes work, and time. Many believe that real change in the workforce begins with change in culture, family dynamics and media as well as just in the workplace.  

As a recruiter who is focused on placing the most qualified engineering and technology leaders in today’s fast-moving companies, I find that there still are fewer women in leadership roles. The  questions from my blog post in 2017 still apply.

What are you doing to prove your environment is diverse and inclusive?

As we celebrate International Women’s Day 2019, I am encouraged by the awareness across companies of every description, and especially in the technology industry.  And, I’m reminded that real change takes real effort and time for new norms to surface across society. I look forward to seeing what a difference we can make by International Women’s Day 2020.