What Every CTO Needs to Hire the Best Tech Talent
Advice for Management & Companies

What Every CTO Needs to Hire the Best Tech Talent

Success in the role of Chief Technology Officer depends on understanding all technologies that have to do with your company’s product or the service you provide.

For tech-based companies, the role of CTO is much more expanded, but their focus is still on the strategic/product side, leaving operational technology management to the CIO. Though new solutions are slowly redefining the roles of CTO and CIO, some things will always be required for success in tech, namely, talented employees.

Though technology is their focus, successful CTOs understand that successful tech development and application will always depend on the talent within their organization. You can have the most advanced software that money can buy, but, without the right people using this software, there really is no competitive advantage to speak of.

Italy Milrad is CTO at Ironsource, a global technology solution development company, and he believes that the job of CTO has just as much to do with people as it does with technology.

“As the CTO it’s your job to know everything about the technologies related to your company’s services and products and navigate the company direction in terms of projects, development, and tools.

It also means that you no longer have the luxury of solving every little problem yourself. Instead, you have to solve the bigger problem of making other people solve problems better and faster. You will likely manage multiple teams working on diverse projects, and that can be quite a challenge for someone who is wired to go in and solve problems themselves.”

The CTO needs to design and update the technological infrastructure of their company’s product, but they also need to oversee the implementation of this infrastructure. Besides the technologies themselves, the biggest factor in the success of a CTO’s plans will always be the tech experts who are implementing their plans.

Until we have machines that can do it (which may be sooner than you can think) you need to have people who you can trust with developing the next generation of your company’s product. In order to hire the best tech employees on the market, you need to have a complete understanding of your needs, but you also need to understand what motivates and attracts top tech talent.


Understand your Needs

Before you can make a successful hire, you need to know exactly what would make a hire successful. As circular as this sounds, taking the time to map out how specific hires will support objectives is crucial for attracting talent and ensuring that your hire has the skills that you need.

Knowing how, when and why a hire will be working on upcoming projects, will help you to hone your candidate requirements and the tests that you use to qualify applicants. This best practice is also essential when filling a newly created position at your company, which most companies are doing at the moment.

According to a recent survey of recruiters:

How many of your job orders are for newly created positions (NOT replacement job orders)?

  • None of them — 6.3%
  • Less than 25% — 12.7%
  • Between 25% and 50% — 21.5%
  • Between 50% and 75% — 5.1%
  • More than 75% — 24.1%
  • All of them — 30.4%

The majority of recruiters are being contracted to fill near-exclusively, newly-created positions. What this means for you is that, if the position that you need filled doesn’t already exist at your company, you can anticipate a longer candidate search in which your top choices are interviewing with other top companies. Considering the competitive nature of the job market, a responsible CTO will account for more resources being required to make a strong tech hire.

Mapping out how a hire will support company projects also gives you an arsenal of job marketing material. Top hires won’t take “any old job,” so you need to entice them with engaging descriptions of the projects they will work on. From the innovations you are trying to achieve to the tools you will use to realize them, displaying these sort of aspirational attractors is essential if you want to entice tech talent.


Understand Needs and Desires of Talent

Once you have mapped out your needs and the way your vision will be supported by new hires, it’s time to think about what your candidates want.

We are hiring from a candidate-driven market, which means that your options will depend heavily on the relative appeal of your job, as related to the tech industry as a whole. Unfortunately (or fortunately if you are a tech expert) the average pay in the tech industry has been increasing a good deal each year.

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If your job offer doesn’t measure up to “average” job offers, it will be impossible to attract the talent you want. Before you advertise your open job, you need to check that it looks good in comparison to similar positions being advertised in your region.

The good news is, geography is playing less of a role in the ability for companies to attract tech talent. According to a new study from Indeed, fewer tech professionals are as dead set against taking jobs outside of Silicon Valley.

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However, a larger percentage of Millennial tech workers do think that it’s important to work in this traditional tech hub.


Importance of working in silicon valley millenial (2)

If you operate outside of a traditional tech hub, it can be difficult to attract talent to your area. Fortunately, the massive influx of talent to Silicon Valley appears to be slowing and the growth in popularity of other tech centers like Seattle, Austin, and Phoenix, are growing.

No matter where you operate, it’s important to use location to your advantage in your job advertising. It’s also important to be specific. The last thing you want is for a candidate to re-locate and be bitterly disappointed by their decision. Take a line or two in your job description to talk about the city or the community in which you work, as well as some of the perks associated with the location. For instance, operating in a semi-rural area could be a draw for tech talent who have experienced the bustle of city life and want a change of pace.


Attract Talent with Opportunity

The high pay offered in the tech industry makes the appeal of a more interesting job greater than the appeal of a few grand extra in the bank every year. Your job offer and job advertising need to present a golden opportunity to tech talent: offering interesting work, competitive compensation, and a bright future.

Millennial employees, in particular, are more motivated by “quality of work” in their job offer, and your job advertising needs to accentuate these desirable qualities. According to a recent press release from Fidelity,

“When asked how much of a pay cut they would be willing to take for an improved “quality of work-life” (such as career development, purposeful work, work/life balance, company culture), Millennials report they are willing to take, on average, a $7,600 pay cut.”

Though you may be hiring for senior technology positions, Millennials are the largest generation in the US workforce and their numbers are only increasing. No matter the age of the person you’re hiring, however, you want to appeal to the professional curiosity and career aspirations of your candidates.

Everyone has their own goals, but you want people who are excited by the work your company is doing, not just the salary you’re offering. Attracting tech talent with the opportunity to do interesting work is more effective than trying to buy them, and much less expensive.


Attract Talent with Technology

Tech workers love technology. From the tools that you have secured for your employees, to the tools that you’ve modified and/or created, to the hardware that tech hires will be using, you should be trying to attract talent with a wealth of technological resources.

No matter if they’re an engineer, a programmer, an IT professional, a data scientist or a new position that’s too complicated to be named just yet, you can always count on the appeal that tech resources will have for tech candidates

You can also count on their disappointment if they will be forced to work on outdated computers or with software that has passed its prime. Tablets don’t grow on trees, but making an investment into updating the technology used at your company is well worth it. You’ll get the benefits of this updated tech, but, more importantly, you will be able to attract tech talent who are used to using the best tools available for the benefit of their employer.


By highlighting interesting work/projects, a unique work location and advanced technology, you can appeal to the professional desires of tech talent, and make the hires you need to be an effective CTO. You will still have to offer the correct compensation, but the draw of more money is not as strong for tech talent as the draw of more interesting work.