Why Hiring a Chief Technology Officer is Tougher Than You Think

570 380 C-Suite Network

Painful surprise.

Say you have a good idea for a business. One snag: your idea requires code and you’re a business person. So you go out to hire a chief technology officer (CTO).

The problem: hiring your technology lead is harder than you think. And if you mess it up, the other moving parts of your business come tumbling down around you.

Three problems you must be aware of when hiring a CTO:

1) Good developers are incredibly difficult to reach

Competent software engineers are in extreme demand. So if you plan to reach them the same way as everyone else, expect trouble.

In an interview, Jeff Hyman, lecturer on recruiting at the Kellogg School of Management and founder of Strong Suit, told me:

“Software developers are starting to pull their profiles off LinkedIn, because they’re so tired of being besieged by headhunters.”

Ouch. So what can you do? Start with your own network. Kindly ask a few of your best contacts for introductions. And if you’ve dealt with developers in a previous part of your life, reach out again.

What if you have no choice but to reach out cold? Be extra careful in your approach. The way you reach out tells people more than you think.

Take Robyn Cage, for example. As an independent musician, she accomplished something others like her can only dream of: she built a large, devoted audience.

Turns out, collaboration with other artists was a key part of her success. She became good at connecting with influential artists.

In an interview, she stressed the need to research what channel to use before reaching out:

“You have to reach out to them in the right way. Everyone has their own way in which they want to be contacted.”

Same for you. Before you connect with a potential CTO, tune into their world first. Do they hate talking to people on the…

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