How To Hire The Right CTO For Your Business
Hiring for a new Chief Technology Officer? Not sure where to begin? Anxious about making a good choice or the risks of making a bad choice? Well, you’re not alone. Finding a CTO who is the right fit for your business is an extremely challenging task, even for people who have a lot of technology expertise. It’s appropriate that, making a decision that can have a profound impact on the future success of your business, is not a decision to be made lightly.
I have both been a CTO myself as well as helping advise a number of software businesses and been heavily involved in the hiring process. I’ve written this guide to help share what I’ve learned about how to make good choices with a wider audience. I’ve also tapped into the wisdom of many friends with different perspectives on this problem.
The guide covers 15 key points across the challenge of hiring and integrating a CTO into your business. Here are a quick summary of 5 points; you’ll find much more inside:
1. Defining ‘CTO’ and working out what kind you require
While ‘CTO’ is a term that is often less often defined. Different CTO’s can cover very different skill sets and priorities. So, in section 1, we identify the key roles a CTO may hold and offer recommendations for how to work out which kind of CTO you need.
2. Understanding what you need to get done
You’ve decided that you need a hands-on operational CTO rather than a strategic CTO. Now it’s time to understand what you really need them to do, day-to-day, to create necessary impact on your technology and your business. This section outlines many of the tasks that CTO’s perform and offers recommendations on making sure your new CTO can hit the ground running on day 1.
3. Being candid
Not everyone hiring a CTO is sat on top of a perfect organisation with a smoothly running development team and a bug-free product. But there is a temptation as a CEO to present that front because they are worried about scaring off a good candidate. In this section we talk about the pro’s & con’s of being candid and offer recommendations to make sure you get someone who is up for your kind of challenge.
4. Knowing where to look
It’s all very well to know what you are looking for and to be ready to be candid but then comes the big one… where do you even start to look? We talk about this challenge and offer recommendations on how to get started.
5. Being prepared for things to change/go wrong
You think you have the right candidate, and maybe you have. But it’s worth understanding what you could do if you have made the wrong decision and how to deal with it when the business (and the role) changes.
Hopefully, with these short excerpts I’ve whetted your appetite to learn more. The full guide has 15 topics with 3 recommendations for each.
Not being able to hire a CTO is a difficult problem and the guide definitely is there to help you with that. But, perhaps more important, it is there to help you avoid hiring the wrong CTO. This is a special risk because hiring a CTO is so hard that there is a temptation to jump for the first reasonable person you meet. The recommendations contained within will help you make the right decision for your business.
Click here to read The Art of Navigation’s 30-Minute Guide to Hiring a CTO