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14 Essential Traits To Look For In A Chief Technology Officer

That’s because a bulk of their work involves analyzing technologies, budgeting costs, and resources, and hiring skilled team members. A hands-on experience with using relevant tools is definitely a must for CTOs. This is beneficial especially when creating decisions of adopting new systems and technologies. For example, if a CTO wants to migrate the IT infrastructure to the AWS Cloud, then knowledge of the AWS platform is necessary.

Where to hire a CTO

Not everyone will come from a strictly technology background – in fact, that may not be exactly what you need. If your offering is service-oriented, for example, you want a CTO with the experience to understand what that means in terms of ease and functionality for your customers. A CTO’s job is to create a unique technology plan for your business – to get the most of each dollar you invest in this all-important area. They are looking at who you are – and who you want to be – and tailoring the plan to your needs.

We would encourage any organisation to put their shortlist candidates in front of some of your key tech team members. Not only is this a great way to assess fit but it also is a good test of capabilities. Often companies can be wary of this step but properly handled, it is a fantastic way of including the team in the process and building support for your incoming CTO. This can be a strong indicator of both their network as well as their understanding of your recruitment needs. One of the pieces of your puzzle may be hiring a Chief Technology Officer. The Chief Technology Officer is entrusted with a large part of your foundation – technology is the engine of most start-ups today.

Quick Overview: Cto And Their Duties

However, being focused on impact does not mean teams can avoid all questions regarding when something will be delivered. Therefore, a CEO should avoid demanding very specific dates for releases or a one to two year detailed roadmap with a big list of deliverables. Teams and their leaders need to be held accountable and should be judged on the value they create for your users and the business.

Where to hire a CTO

A CTO needs to not only have a strong command of technology, but also project management, organization and team dynamics, among other things. Typically, they have at least 15 years of experience in developing tech solutions that improve business processes, productivity, and spending. Besides their technical expertise, CTOs use their business knowledge to make the best tech-related decisions on the company’s behalf.

Hire A Cto In

Below you can find the table with CTO’s responsibilities depending on the persona type. Helena Bachar, Senior Director of Product Management at Houzz, shares how she learned to delegate and dives into the benefits this had on her team. You may be doing this for the first time, this is a really hard problem that you’re going to need significant help with (everyone does!).

If you’re located in different time zones, you’ll need to set a schedule for calls. Outsourcing is quite popular due to affordable prices and access to a big talent pool. Eastern Europe is becoming increasingly popular as a result of many tech talents, low taxation, and government backing for the IT sector. It displays the ideal balance of low cost and constant high quality of the IT services provided. No opportunity to check whether your CTO is only involved in your project. There are a lot of freelancers, so you can find an appropriate specialist.

The Chief Technology Officer is there to wade through all that – the packages, the professionals, the offers and the plans – and come up with what will work for you. They must have vision and creativity, communication skills and problem solving abilities. They should be a team player, able to manage people and their enthusiasm. Essentially, CTOs are the prime movers of an organization’s tech strategies.

Qualifications Of A Chief Technology Officer

Since this is an executive role, most companies prefer candidates with a Master’s Degree in similar fields. A solid background in business will support CTOs in facilitating better customer relations and product delivery. You can hire a CTO specialist with deep expertise in the required technologies. Cooperating with an outsourcing company, you can reduce the time required for interviewing candidates and end up paying less. You already have a working product and get a stable revenue, but you want to move on and boost your business. CTO can help you go through tech transformation smoothly, without losing money.

Chief technology officers act as liaisons between the organization and its customers. Their role entails plenty of customer relations; bridging the needs of the customers with the technical capabilities of a company. Hence, it’s important for a CTO to have a solid grasp of its target market to deliver IT projects successfully. To get a high dedication level and required experience, it’s better to hire an in-house CTO or cooperate with a specialist from an outsourcing company. Freelance isn’t the best option since you need long-term cooperation.

CTO requires long-term cooperation, but freelancers can break up the project without finishing it. At AKF, we have yet to meet a team that suffers from a shortage of good ideas. But we have met teams that have clogged up their roadmaps with lots of good and mediocre ideas that, cumulatively, have little impact. Saying yes to every good idea, however small, means you’re not making time for the great opportunities. David Rashty, an entrepreneur and one of the early web pioneers, has over twenty years’ experience as a CTO and a CEO. David is the funder and CEO of CreativeMinds which focus on WordPress and Magento products.

When hiring a CTO, you need to find one with a strategic mindset. The CTO needs to see the big picture to move the company forward. This includes understanding and researching marketing trends, business models and technologies. The CTO will analyze competitors and create technology strategies to disrupt the status quo. They will cultivate motivation and encourage collaboration within their team.

Examples Of How Akf Partners Works With Organizations To Hire And Develop Technology Leaders

Communication is the key to collaborating with senior leaders, development teams, stakeholders, and customers. Since this is a leadership position, a chief technology officer should have excellent leadership qualities to lead a successful project delivery. They may have held various senior roles such as project manager, VP, or director. A chief technology officer is a key C-suite executive responsible for spearheading the tech initiatives of a company.

  • But great leaders can direct and steer their team over multiple stages of evolution.
  • Because the chief technology officer position is so important, you need to ensure that the right person assumes the role.
  • Let’s face it — CTO communicates a lot with developers, c-level managers, clients, and others.
  • Tech leadership metrics should reflect how the individual and their team creates value for the business and therefore should primarily be judged by business metrics.
  • However, in today’s world, it needs to be a strong function that sits at the top table and contributes to the company’s strategic direction.
  • The Chief Technology Officer is there to wade through all that – the packages, the professionals, the offers and the plans – and come up with what will work for you.

Don’t wait and resist change when you know it needs to be done. Matt Tucker, CEO at Koan and recovering CTO, offers up various hypothetical scenarios for a CTO who may be thinking about filling the position of VP of engineering. If you do not do either of the above, at minimum headhunters should also be able to provide some validation on technical capabilities through references. Members of the Young Entrepreneur Council share some important qualities companies should look for in their CTO candidates. Full Scale helps businesses grow quickly by providing access to highly skilled remote developers. So, Chief Technology Officer improves the tech part of your product, solving existing problems.

Once you have a shortlist of final candidates, you may also want to consider a technical leadership interview. AKF Partners often does this for companies and top headhunters. This usually takes the form of a one hour interview with particular focus on technical competence, leadership style and ways of working. Because the chief technology officer position is so important, you need to ensure that the right person assumes the role.

Tech Strategy

CTO’s duties depend on the company’s goals and requirements. Kate Semizhon, Engineering Manager at Square, shares her experience finding a role as an engineering manager without any recent experience. All of the above should be communicated with your headhunter and Chief People Officer.

Also, Chief Technology Officer analyzes the company’s business goals and finds tech ways to achieve them. These sample Chief Technology Officer interview questions will help you evaluate candidates’ skills during your hiring process. Feel free to add or modify these questions to meet your specific needs.

Beyond technical expertise, your ideal candidates will demonstrate specific qualities that will make them stand out. Excellent communication skills are important for this role, as future hires will deliver presentations to executives and interact with different teams on a daily basis. Keep an eye out for candidates who are highly professional and possess strong leadership skills. Companies today must be proficient at technology to win in their market and to expand into new products and services. This means having senior, seasoned technology leadership represented at the executive level. We have seen the product and technology function layered in almost every corner of an organisation – whether under marketing, sales or even finance or HR.

If the business boost implies more users, CTO can help adjust the product’s architecture to take that load. If it’s about redesigning an old app, CTO can help your team make the transition as smooth for users as possible . Caz Brett, Director of Product at Steer73, shares her insights on scaling a product team by focussing on the people. They will remain focused on the bottom line and ensure all work benefits customers and the company.

Why Is It Important To Hire A Strong Cto?

A CTO’s role revolves heavily around technology innovations. Thus, the R&D projects are specifically created to advance the company’s overall innovation goals. To be on the same page with the development team, you need to have technical knowledge. In other cases, you’ll face difficulties during the product development. Successful CTOs are leaders, not followers and they frequently challenge traditional approaches .

Where to hire a CTO

It’s common to use these social networks to get working contacts. CTOs should have an extensive communication network to cooperate with other developers and managers. Hiring a CTO for your startup can be a struggle if you don’t have technical expertise. Below, I’ve listed several tips that can help you choose the right candidate. Hiring a startup CTO, you need to understand what they’re responsible for.

CTOs are not only tech-savvy, but they’re also phenomenal when it comes to scaling a business. Lastly, CTOs are the companies’ primary problem solvers and visionaries. It’s impossible for them to supervise an organization without understanding its vision and an innate ability to solve problems.

However, it will still depend on the company that a CTO works for. It may take years for someone to become one since only a few may qualify for this position. But, there are steps for a tech professional to one day become a Chief Technical Officer—be it for large corporations or small startups. While the IT infrastructure is the core responsibility of a CIO, the latter may tap on a CTO for this specific task. An IT department may include a CTO to keep a close eye on the organization’s data maintenance, security, and network.

Let’s face it — CTO communicates a lot with developers, c-level managers, clients, and others. Plato ( is the world’s biggest mentorship platform for engineering managers & product managers. We’ve curated a community of mentors who are the tech industry’s best engineering & product leaders from companies like Facebook, Lyft, Slack, Airbnb, Gusto, and more.

Good CTOs will want to work for a CEO who understands the importance of delivering impact rather than just outputs. Tech leadership metrics should reflect how the individual and their team creates value for the business and therefore should primarily be judged by business metrics. A common mistake is to measure a CTO but a long list of products that cto duties have been released. The number of solutions simply isn’t the right solution – the overall efficacy in business terms of those solutions is. In fact, be wary of leaders who do NOT want to be measured by the business outcomes of the solutions they help create. Another common pitfall is not ensuring alignment on objectives across the executive team.

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