This article describes common duties of a chief technology officer and speaks about when and how to hire a CTO for a startup.
Hiring the right chief technology officer (CTO) at the right time is one of the most crucial decisions affecting the growth and evolution of your business. There are a lot of factors that affect when and how to hire a CTO for a startup. All companies are different, so each startup may need to hire a CTO at a different time. For some, hiring a CTO can even be to their disadvantage. We’ll cover how and when to hire the right person for the CTO position and consider whether you need one at all.
Criteria to hire a CTO
To hire the right person for the CTO position, you should know what actually makes a candidate perfect for this job. Below, you can see the most prominent qualities to look for when hiring a CTO.
Technical skills are among the most apparent qualities a CTO should have. A chief technical officer should be the person who ensures the quality of the software and the one you can count on regarding technical issues. During the early stages of some startups, this is the person who makes the first version of the software solution.
Being technical should go along with having business acumen. The decisions a CTO makes should be effective from a business perspective further down the road. A chief technical officer should know the business inside out and identify how software can best address business needs.
Technologies are constantly evolving. To keep up with the latest developments, a CTO should be an avid learner. They should constantly check out the latest technologies. This applies not only to languages, hardware, and operating systems but also to software development methodologies, quality assurance procedures, and platform architectures.
The CTO’s task isn’t to micromanage. They need to be a big picture thinker: to have a vision of where you’re going with your product and how your company will grow with your software solution.
CTOs don’t work alone but with a team. Therefore, they should have people skills to interact well not only with their technical team but also with other executives and the outside world.
How to hire a CTO for a startup when you’re non-technical
When hiring a CTO for your startup, you need to see whether a candidate has the qualities we’ve just listed. Below, we give some practical tips that can help you make a great hire.
Examine the candidate’s work experience to see how successful they were at their previous job and how they contributed to the achievements of their previous company. During the CTO hiring process, ask candidates about challenges they’ve encountered and how they’ve dealt with them. You can also contact former employers to get feedback about work performance.
Make sure they’re well-rounded and understand the high-level impact of what they’re doing. A CTO should be aligned with your company’s vision and clearly realize how the technical element of their job fits into the commercial strategy of your startup.
Check how big their network is. Great leaders are those whom people follow on social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook. A good CTO can quickly bring great technical staff on board at a later stage, saving recruitment costs.
Look for great communication skills. As a CTO has a seat at the board table, they should be able to effectively manage and engage at a stakeholder level and communicate with their team.