How to Hire a Growth Engineer

If you’re a business owner or startup founder looking to hire a person whose job encompasses almost all (or all) the things listed below, you’re looking for a Growth Engineer.


Key responsibilities:

  • Create a solid (online) brand and identity. Generate awareness and visibility.
  • Bring in new site traffic and create new leads. Convert traffic through implementing user-centric landing pages, call-to-action buttons, and other lead-qualifying methods.
  • Create and manage a strategy for content - source for content that will attract new readership/leads. Writing content may be necessary.
  • Conduct funneling activities for lead building and nurturing (e.g. Drip campaigns).
  • Conduct user testing on site. Measure, interpret and present behaviorial analytics. Do A/B testing if necessary.
  • Manage social media platforms across multiple clients - Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Pinterest, YouTube
  • Implement SEO strategies by designing and developing sitemaps, keyword research, and managing back-end site elements.
  • Manage site infrastructure and conduct SERP crawling.
  • Report on competitive analysis (e.g. benchmarking and search rankings).


What’s a Growth Engineer again?


If you’re confused about the naming convention, (say, “Hey, I thought it was Inbound Marketer? Digital Marketer? Or that fancy-schmancy startup term, a Growth Hacker?”), let me tell you something – you aren’t alone.


In my current job, I’ve probably had a change of job title 3-4 times. I started out as a a Marketing Technologist, then a Growth Hacker. At some point I think I was called a Digital Marketer – and now I’m a Growth Engineer (simply because I’ve started sinking my teeth into the technical, back-end programming stuff, and less of the strategic planning stuff). It’s final because the title’s printed on my name card.


I learnt that specifically in the tech scene, there’s really no fixed title. Different companies come up with different names. Some like em’ funky, some prefer them conventional. It really depends on the stage of the company and how it ties in with the responsibilities of the new hire. 


Okay, so what’s the difference?


To be specific, a Growth Engineer’s job scope can cover up to 10 ongoing activities and maybe even  10 roles. It’s up to you, the recruiter, to be very specific about your Growth Engineer’s job scope.


For example, a Growth Engineer in Company A may only be responsible for social media management, posting some content online, and running online campaigns to attract leads. However in Company B, the Growth Engineer may need to cover all of Company A’s Growth Engineer’s responsibilities, PLUS have the technical know-how to run a Content Management System (i.e. WordPress), perform data analysis on the company’s website and its pages, and manage the back-end site infrastructure.


 So how would I know who to hire?


In determining how to hire a good Growth Engineer, you first need to ask yourself 2 questions:

  1. What do I need them to do this year? (Let’s assume it’s a 1-year contract for now), and
  2. How much resources do I currently have?


What do I need them to do?


Firstly, ask yourself: “What do I need them to do this year?” It’s important you ask this question because this ties in with your business goals directly.


Try to be as specific as possible in conveying a Growth Engineer’s job scope. Not being specific could lead to detrimental results. You do not want to mislead someone into joining your team only to find out they don’t have the skills required, and/or aptitude for learning those skills.


This will just be a waste of resources (time, money, effort) for both you and your new hire. If possible, get your team together (or a few decision makers) to list the specifications of the role. Your team mates are crucial in covering for your blind spots.


Next, it’s essential to be realistic about the time-frame. I stated 1 year because that’s generally the a long-enough period for results to show.


For example, if you require your Growth Engineer to be onboarded, then given some time to gather information about the company, strategise, and execute – you’d need at least a good 3 months. For results to show? Perhaps another 3-6 months, depending on the type of strategy used (e.g. short-lived social media campaigns versus ongoing SEO to boost organic search rankings).


Being specific and realistic is key to scoping out a Growth Engineer’s role and responsibilities. 


How much resources do I currently have?


Ah, the 2nd question. How much resources you currently have determines quite a number of critical things:

  1. The length of your company’s runway,
  2. How much you can afford to pay the Growth Engineer, and
  3. Additional manpower/money needed to give your Growth Engineer’s work an additional boost.


Let’s be realistic again.


Firstly, if your company’s runway is short, it means you are placing much hope on the team you currently have plus the additional hire, to enhance your earnings or growth targets. They are crucial to additional revenue or funding. Everyone’s livelihood is resting on your decisions, and most importantly on you.


Secondly, how much you can afford to pay the new hire also boils down to how much they are asking for. Besides market rates, other salary considerations include the amount of tasks they need to do, level of experience, equity/stock options offered, etc.


Lastly, if you are solely relying on one Growth Engineer to manage all your online activities (plus other things you may have listed in their job scope), you’ll need to provide them with tools to help them at some point. It could be marketing automation tools or platforms to help make their work more delightful, and also to allow them to focus on what’s truly meaningful to your business. You may even need to hire additional people should your Growth Engineer’s efforts be taking off.


It is better to provide the help necessary for them to perform, than risk them leaving altogether. 



That said, hiring a Growth Engineer who has the capacity to take risks with you and is willing to accomplish a gazillion tasks for below-market pay is a rare gem. Be realistic but be hopeful – you never know who you might chance upon. Perhaps you may discover diamond in the rough.

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