June 28, 2018
Are you considering hiring a CTO? If you are, you should first consider why hiring a CTO is necessary. Is it to help develop new software? Is the company lacking strategic planning to scale and grow from a technology perspective? Have there been recurring challenges with security risks? Each of these scenarios may require a similar skill set of a CTO, but the technology is less important than the cultural fit.
There are several characteristics a superior CTO should have that go beyond technical expertise. Finding the right solution involves hiring someone who can adapt to your company’s specific goals. Essentially, a company needs a trusted technology advisor who’s strategic and can work with the rest of the executive team to increase revenue and efficiencies and decrease expenses.
The role also requires a solid company fit. This includes a positive personality, good communication skills, and a high emotional quotient. The solution is finding a person that will help with your technology needs, but also serve as a strong leader for your company. To hire for a CTO, here a few guidelines to follow.
Experience and expertise are important characteristics for any C-level position. However, good technical skill matters less at this level than strong leadership abilities. Excellent communication and well-rounded knowledge of technology are critical to the role, but the right candidate will understand your business’s goals and want to advocate for them. They lead and inspire a team. They will consistently bring new ideas to the table with solid plans to back them up.
The second thing to consider when hiring for a CTO is what’s needed by the company. Do they need to build out a new software platform? Are they looking to move to the cloud? Does the CTO have the flexibility to guide the team to what’s needed for the company? Have they worked with software developers before?
While having similar industry experience is important, a successful CTO must also be an innovator. The person should be comfortable going beyond the status quo. The technology need will guide which experience is most necessary for the role.
There are four strategic areas a CTO is responsible for: increasing revenue, decreasing expenses, improving efficiencies, and meeting compliance measurements.
A C-level candidate should already have the credentials and experience to apply for a CTO position. The way to find the right company fit is to ask straightforward questions such as:
These kind of questions will help reveal a person’s communication style. It will provide a better understanding of who you are working with. Is he or she forward thinking or do they provide the bare minimum? Is he or she looked upon favorably by past colleagues or are their peer reviews lacking?
The search for a CTO doesn’t mean your company can be put on hold while recruiting for the right candidate. By bringing in a technology advisor, you receive a focused, strategic approach to engaging the right person for the job. You benefit from their experience and knowledge of the technology space and working with CTOs. A technology advisor doesn’t aim to simply “fill a need,” but rather identify opportunities and produce the right resources to advance your company.
Retained search for technology leaders is advantageous for several reasons. It reduces risk during the hiring process, ensures a quality candidate selection, and delivers the kind of focus from the recruitment team needed to hire for a CTO. Using retained search versus contingency search produces more optimal results for both the client and candidate.
Map out your company goals and find where pieces are missing or lacking from a technology standpoint. There are likely several areas to concentrate on, which means a strategic plan is needed to meet milestones in a timely way. A part-time CTO can provide the technology leadership you need, even as you look for a permanent solution.
A part-time CTO creates a technology roadmap for the team to follow. This position is also responsible for resource planning and staffing management for developers and other important technology positions. By hiring someone with the right CTO skills, whether part-time or full-time, it allows your team and business to avoid pauses in productivity or progress.
Each business has varying needs, which means this leadership position is not a one-size-fits-all solution. The investment of hiring a CTO that is the right fit for your company takes time and patience. The effort you put into researching the right candidate will help to prevent costly turnover and decline in team efficiencies. Let us help you put the right people in place to allow your business to thrive.