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6 Steps to Hire a CTO for Your Startup

Few things you need to know before hiring a CTO. There is currently a talent war for tech jobs in India. The size of well-known companies like Facebook and Google is only increasing, and more tech startups than ever are settling in India. Hiring excellent tech expertise is therefore more difficult than ever.

Hiring a fantastic CTO is crucial for a business founder. The appropriate CTO may make a big difference for your business by managing the tech team's quality of work, conducting efficient agile retrospectives, and achieving the objectives of the business team.

There is never a perfect moment to hire a CTO. Some startups can function for a long period without a CTO, while others require one from the beginning. No matter what stage your firm is in if you're looking to employ a CTO, use these 6 steps to find the right applicant.

The 6 stages to hiring a CTO for your startup

  1. Before you hire a CTO, consider recruiting a technical advisor.

  2. Create a job description and define the requirements for the CTO position.

  3. Put a priority on purpose, morality, and cultural fit.

  4. Sell the position

  5. Choose the best candidates.

  6. Offer something they can't refuse.


1. Before you hire a CTO, consider recruiting a technical advisor.

What differentiates a CTO from a technical advisor? The daily work of a technical advisor is maintained. The technical advisor is someone who is not constantly working in the weeds with you and works for you for 2-4 hours per month. They might conduct weekly or monthly code reviews, serve as your CTO's sounding board, and operate as a system of checks and balances with your CTO. Hiring the best CTO might be greatly aided if you first hire a technical advisor. They can examine job descriptions, conduct interviews, and screen CTO, candidates.

Due to the fact that you aren't asking someone to leave their current position to work for you, hiring a technical adviser will probably be simpler than recruiting a CTO. Instead, you are requesting that they continue in their current position and take on a brief advisory role once a week.

In some circumstances, it may be possible to get by without a CTO by simply having a technical advisor. Two of the co-founders of a company I advise are entrepreneurs. To develop their MVP, they worked with an excellent offshore software engineering team. Despite their inability to comprehend code, they are pleased with the results of the offshore crew. They believed a CTO was necessary, but we discovered a technical advisor in their place. Weekly code reviews by the offshore tech team are performed by the technical adviser, who also provides the founders with a high-level code evaluation. As of right now, everything is going smoothly, and the technical adviser gives the cofounder assurance that their offshore crew is producing high-quality code.

It's excellent if this works for you. All you need to do is step one. Continue reading steps 2–6 if you decide to hire a CTO.


2. Create a job description and define the requirements for the CTO position.

Identify the "appearance" of the perfect prospect. What soft qualities do they have? What technological expertise do they offer? Think about these:

  • Finding a senior software developer or technical team lead who is eager to take on the CTO post is ideal because they will regard this position as a rung up on their career ladder.

  • Someone who has traveled your journey before might be what you need. Having someone who has experienced it can be helpful if your 40-person business is attempting to grow to 100.

  • Instead of choosing someone who believes they have all the answers, look for someone who approaches situations from a "want to understand" attitude.

  • Look for a person who can learn a variety of technologies (perhaps including the back end, front end, and mobile). Avoid anyone who claims to exclusively programme in one language.

  • Look for a person who desires to wear countless hats. Because they prefer to spend the majority of their time coding, many outstanding senior-level web developers I know specifically do not want the CTO position.

Asking yourself these questions will help you define what success looks like:

  • In three months, six months, and a year, how will the individual in this position measure success?

  • What objectives are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely) for this position?

  • What are the company's values, and how do they relate to performing well in the position?

  • Which method of problem solutions are you seeking?

Make sure to note the sources of removal. For instance:

  • Is the inability to use a particular tech stack a deal-breaker or something that can be learned?

  • If necessary, does your business sponsor H1B visas?

  • Is remote work an option?

Utilize all of this information to create a job description that ties everything together.


3. Put a priority on purpose, morality, and cultural fit.

Interview candidates first for purpose and integrity, then for experience and knowledge.

Never undervalue the significance of a CTO's cultural fit either. Making sure they fit with your company culture is just as crucial as making sure they have the necessary technical abilities because this is someone you will be working closely with and entrusting with the very essence of your "great idea."

Dee Hock, a former Visa executive, claims:

Without integrity, purpose is risky, capacity is powerless, understanding is constrained, knowledge has no purpose, and experience is blind. Without knowledge, experience is blind. People with all the other attributes are quick to provide experience and put it to use.


4. Sell the position

Remember that the top CTOs will have several offers, starting with the job description and continuing through the offer. Throughout the interview process, it's your job to sell them on the position. You are aware that working for your startup is the most interesting, cutting-edge, and wonderful experience. But remember that the candidates likely aren't aware of that just yet. Your startup must be sold. List the benefits of working with you rather than merely the attributes you are searching for in a CTO, such as intriguing challenges and the chance to participate in x, y, and z. Will the CTO receive shares? Will they be independent? Sell the distinctive features your startup has effectively. To draw in a pool of applicants that is both balanced and diverse, be sure to describe the position using gender-neutral terminology.


5. Choose the best candidates.

The best candidates are frequently those who are inactive, covertly searching for work or both. Never undervalue the power of your network, no matter how big or small, when it comes to sourcing candidates. Take a look around. What do you know who might be able to fill this position? Who do you know who might have connections to prospective candidates? Who do I know who knows the most CTOs, you might wonder? Ask for aid from that person by reaching out to them.

Consult with colleagues at different companies who have just hired a CTO. Specify two inquiries:

  1. Do you have any advice for me?

  2. Can you recommend any good CTO candidates who didn't work out for you but would be perfect for my business?

To identify people who are discussing the subjects related to your startup and the role, search your internet networks. People who are interested in what they do frequently enjoy discussing it. Great places to look for applicants are the ones listed below:

  • Social media standards: Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. They are also for listening, not only talking. In particular tech communities, look for candidates. For example, to find someone who is interested in Nod

e.js, look at the users of the hashtags #nodejs and related terms.


  • Quora

  • Stack Overflow

  • General Assembly

  • A meetup group announcement can be an excellent approach to locating candidates. Try requesting that the meetup's organizer post the announcement on their behalf. Their announcement will carry more weight than if you made it on your own because they probably have a large network of potential candidates.

  • statewide and regional tech events

(This list might fill 15 pages. You see what I mean.)


6. Offer something they can't refuse.

Why would the ideal CTO candidate pick my startup over another one, you might wonder. There isn't a compensation program that works for everyone. Determine what you are able and willing to contribute initially. You might not be able to provide them with the same package that a more established company would, but you can give them stock. Giving someone stock in your business could make them feel more personally invested and lead to improved performance. Be prepared to respond to any inquiries they may have on the rewards and bonuses offered. Make careful research on standard pay scales and equity-based benefits.

If at all possible, make the offer in person. You've given the process a lot of thought because this is a crucial position, so you should make sure you end strong with a unique, thoughtful offer you can be proud of.

If none of the founders are fully dedicated to the startup, don't expect to locate a quality full-time CTO. I see startups looking for a full-time CTO much too frequently who are still working another day job. Why would a CTO leave their current position to devote all of their time to your startup if they know you won't do the same? Don't request more commitment from CTO candidates than you already have.

In conclusion,

There are many different types of CTOs; some have experience scaling organizations, some are technical experts, some are visionaries, some have followed in your footsteps before, and some haven't. You'll find it easier to Hire the ideal CTO for your business if you take the time to follow these 6 steps.


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