Finding senior software engineers is arguably the biggest challenge for Canadian tech companies. As companies embrace the post-covid world, the technical talent crunch is real. We had the opportunity to connect with co-founders at Canada Mentors. This startup mentors, connects and matches senior software engineers across the globe with right-fit Canadian tech companies. CanadaMentors has had a significant traction growing at 90% in H1 2022. They have helped 45+ Canadian companies hire 200+ senior software engineers in the last 1.5 years.
Tell us about the backstory behind Canada Mentors. How did the idea come about?
Canada Mentors started as a mentorship program based on our journey of moving to Canada. Coming from a first hand experience of buiding and scaling tech startups, we were intrigued to see the challenges skilled tech immigrants went through to land their first relevant job in Canada. So we started Canada Mentors to help highly skilled newcomers to Canada understand the job landscape, Canadian Culture and land their dream job.
During Covid, as tech companies faced dearth of senior Software Engineers, our partner clients reached out for help and Canada Mentors re-purposed to a people first recruitment firm that helps Canadian Tech companies hire skilled developers with experience in modern tech stack. Our vision is to create a career success platform for global tech talent to build successful career with Canadian companies, enabling our tech ecosystem to grow and scale faster.
How does Canada Mentors exactly work for both companies and tech Talent?
For Software Engineers in Canada or abroad – we provide insights into the Canadian job landscape, resources to succeed in Canada and help them prepare for interviews. Once a candidate signs up on our website, we review their experience + preferences and match them with strong culture and skill fit opportunities in our network. We help them objectively weigh all roles and provide them with resources to succeed.
For startups or tech companies looking to hire software engineers locally in Canada or through Global Talent Stream Program – we work as an extension of their internal recruitment team. You can visit our website and set up an intro chat. We work closely with our partner clients to understand the team, culture and other skills to connect with our pre-vetted pool of 15,000+ Software Engineers. We also help our clients obtain work permit or answer any skilled immigration related queries through our network of verified Consultants.
Coming from prior experience of building high performing tech teams, we purposefully select partner companies and candidates to work with. This also reflects in our numbers – our placed candidate retention rate is 100% with client NPS of 70%.
There’s a talent crunch out there. What tips do you have for companies looking to hire technical talent?
Build global hiring strategy for your local talent needs
One of our clients struggled for 6 months to find a senior full stack developer with experience in modern tech stack (React, Node.js). When they came to us, we introduced them to candidates excited to take up remote work from their home countries, then relocating on an employer sponsored work permit. Through this non conventional method of hiring, we had someone interview with them within the first week and join in 2 weeks. So in less than one month of them coming to us, they already had a senior engineer on-boarded.
Be tech agnostic while interviewing candidates
Good developers have strong problem solving, data structure and coding fundamentals. If they are good in 1 language, they can always learn a new language and hammer it in no time! We know there are certain language like Ruby on Rails, Rust or Golang which can be difficult to hire for but you can hire a strong developer and grow them into your tech stack.
Have a candidate first interview process
For every 1 strong developer there are probably 3-4 companies looking to hire them and your interview process speaks a lot to your culture, values and quality of work they are expected to do on joining you. Build an interview process that your current Software Engineering team would love to participate in, if they were to interview with you all over again!
What are some ways companies can work with Canada Mentors to bring talent in Canada?
We are a big proponent of global tech talent and diversity. Our core expertise lies in helping purpose driven Canadian companies hire senior software engineers with hands-on experience in the modern tech stack. So if you are looking for local talent or relocate talent from abroad or prefer 100% remote roles with high quality bar – we would love to connect!
With remote work on the rise, what trends do you see for recruiting now and into the future?
While access to talent pool has exponentially increased, candidates have become a lot more conscious of the teams, culture and purpose they would like to work with. Same for the companies, with the location of less importance now – soft skills and culture fit have become more important than ever. Technical skills are still highly valued but with a much higher threshold for soft and organization skills.
This has also had big implications in salaries or compensation competitiveness. A Software Engineer in India, Brazil or Nigeria does not need to necessarily relocate to North America to earn for what their worth is. The entire world is converging to one workplace i.e. remote – where your compensation is strictly driven based on your skill sets vs location. So finding good remote talent to fit your budget is going to become all the more tough. Companies still prefer hiring candidates for the same time zone but we are seeing startups moving towards asynchronous working – a rising trend, which will further catalyze the growth of remote work in the future & make talent a lot more accessible.
Onboarding programs play all the more crucial role now in a candidate’s success
What technologies are the most in demand in your experience? What should new developers focus on?
Canadian Startups are embracing the modern tech stack. We see fintech companies moving towards Golang on the backend. Node.js on the server side with React on the frontend seems to have a very high adoption with many newer organizations. Companies moving away from angular and adopting react. Python with Django, Ruby on Rails are also in high demand. C#, PHP, Java seem to be less of a choice for today’s tech startups.
How can software engineers find suitable opportunities to come to Canada from abroad?
Job Platforms like Linkedin/Angel List
Seek help from CM and other recruitment agencies in the same space
What tips do you have for software engineers to work on their applications and relocate to Canada? Any portfolio tips?
Important to focus not just on technical interview preparation, but also focus on behavior and culture interviews.
Within technical- live coding, system design. Prepare and watch content that guides you on how to ask the right questions before you start writing a code
Culture interviews- the wonky way for interviewers to assess your skills is by listening to your answers. Practice putting your thoughts in different buckets, giving structure to your ideas. The more structured you are, the more senior you come across as.
Resume- make sure your resume is concise, structured, give the right info in the most optimized way. The idea of resume writing is to make the reader want to speak with you. Put bullet points instead of paragraphs. Show technical skills separately and don’t forget to mention the impact of the products you have built.
What’s the growth been like with Canada Mentors and what does the future look like?
It’s been an incredible ride so far. Our talent pool has grown to 15,000+ Software Engineers in the last 2 years, which is incredible. Prima Facie, we appear to operate like a typical recruitment agency, but our approach and operations are structured just like any other tech startup. Over the last year, we have built internal tools and a people first team to deliver a great candidate + client experience. We are humbled to have helped 200+ Software Engineers build career with leading Canadian Tech companies like Coursera, Applyboard, Wealthsimple, Koho, Float and Notch!
We are excited and looking forward to building CanadaMentors into a one stop integrated platform to help Global tech talent access opportunities and resources to succeed in their journey to calling Canada home.