All You Need to Know to Hire a CTO for Your Project

Last Updated: October 26, 2021

Geoffrey

Geoffrey

A time comes in every growing business that you need to build a team to help support the growth. A CTO is a key hire, learn how to hire a great CTO here.
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Taken from: https://glider.ai

Running a business is always a complicated process. Moreover, it is a process of accumulation and development, growth and progress. If you want to avoid stagnation, you will need to constantly monitor the situation in a market and apply new strategies.

This means that creating new departments, hiring new employees, and expanding the team are crucial steps towards your business growth.

In this article, we will delve into the issue of recruitment. You will find the answers to the most common questions concerning staff management and requirements for particular positions. 

Perhaps, one of the most confusing thoughts for business owners nowadays is how to hire a CTO. Indeed, there exist several ways of recruiting but it is crucial not to make a mistake and choose an expert you can rely on.

Why Do Businesses Need CTOs?

CTO is a rather confusing position as this person can be responsible for many different things. In an ideal situation, they are specialists who possess expertise in all areas of technological advancement.

They understand the business challenges and employ technology methods to solve the existing problems. 

Still, there is no single standard for the main responsibilities and tasks of the chief technical officer. You can hire a CTO for two main purposes – to manage internal business processes or to develop innovative products.

Assessing the Need to Hire a CTO

Where and how to look for a CTO depends primarily on the scope of your business:

  • If your startup is small and does not receive any external funding, then the technical director may be appointed from the existing staff. For example, from a project or product manager.
  • If your business is already large, or if you are ready to pay a full salary to your technical director, it’s best to hire a good business analyst and recruiter to help you list the competencies that your CTO needs, and find the right candidates.

Description of the CTO Qualities

When launching a job opening, it is necessary to compose the list of the requirements correctly. It will facilitate the work of an HR manager and help immediately pick up suitable candidates.

So, what exactly can you demand from the candidate for the position?

Speaking about personal qualities, try to focus on the following traits:

  • Leadership skills. You should not hire a CTO who is not able to command people and organize work. A real professional knows how to turn strategic plans into reality by breaking the problem into pieces and managing the people who will solve it.
  • Strategic thinking. A CTO must be capable of thinking far ahead and planning the future projects of the business.
  • Communication skills. Your candidate must be able to build highly effective development teams and establish interaction between divisions.

Responsibilities of the Technical Director

A CTO may not be a strong programmer but he must be a leader, make difficult decisions, and see the entire product or technology as a whole.

So, when it is obvious that your business needs you to hire a CTO, think about listing the following responsibilities:

  • Developing technical aspects of the company’s strategy in accordance with its major business objectives;
  • Formulating a vision of how a particular technology will be used in the company;
  • Indicating the goals and deadline for research and development;
  • Understanding the subject area, immersing in the technologies of the product developed;
  • Identifying and implementing innovative technologies that bring advantage to the company;
  • Managing large teams, big data, and the lifecycle of a product;
  • Monitoring the system infrastructure to ensure functionality and efficient work;
  • Checking KPIs and IT budgets to assess technology metrics;
  • Providing quality assurance and data protection processes.

Steps to Hire a CTO

There exist two basic variants you can use as an employer to hire a CTO for your company. The first is selecting the most prominent employee among the existing staff and offering a promotion.

The second option requires a more thorough approach – opening a vacancy to hire a CTO from outside.

If your large company needs professional management, we do recommend starting from scratch and hiring a new technical director. This will help take the business to a higher level. 

To hire a good CTO, we suggest following these four steps:

  1. Create a scorecard and define the main responsibilities of the future CTO. With such a list, you can avoid bias in evaluating the applicant. 
  2. Reach the maximum number of applicants. At this stage, it is necessary to pay special attention to details. Study the applicants’ resumes and cover letters, ask about previous experience, assign a trial task.
  3. Conduct a phone interview as a preliminary selection. In this case, the first call must be made by the recruiter. Then, HR will invite the most suitable candidates for the next round.
  4. Schedule a face-to-face interview and make a final decision. Before conducting the final negotiations, make sure to clarify a few details. As an employer, provide the candidates with a list of your expectations. A potential CTO must confirm his or her readiness to take the responsibilities indicated. Moreover, try to draft a preliminary plan of work to avoid further inconsistencies.

Common Mistakes in Hiring a CTO

Sometimes, owners hire a CTO who lacks leadership skills. Such a director cannot become an authority for other employees.

Even more severe mistake is failing to agree in advance on how the work will be managed. In such case, there may appear several issues:

  • The CEO or owner of the company constantly interferes with the work of the CTO, changes his decisions, and eliminates all his authority among employees.
  • The owner does not take any part in the activities of the company at all. Therefore, the newly appointed CTO makes all decisions at his or her discretion.

In both cases, it is necessary to decide which functions the owner retains for himself and which he gives to the chief technical officer.

Final Thoughts

The roles and responsibilities of a CTO cannot be defined in a couple of sentences. This position is a mediating realm somewhere between technical execution, operational management, and executive representation.

Therefore, when trying to hire a CTO, pay attention to those candidates who have experience in all the previously discussed areas.

Written by Geoffrey