What to Look for in a Chief Technology Officer

As a purpose based executive search firm, Y Scouts helps companies find a chief technology officer who shares their reason for working. But how else do you know what to look for in a CTO?


Once you’ve decided when to hire a CTO, you need to start putting together a job description. In order to fine-tune your job description, it helps to know what to look for in a CTO.

Shared purpose is an important attribute to look for in a chief technology officer. However, a CTO needs to have a variety of skills in order to be successful. If you’re trying to decide what to look for in a CTO, here are five qualities to consider.

1. Industry understanding
If you don’t know what to look for in a CTO, examining a candidate’s prior experience is a wonderful place to start. A good chief technology officer will know a lot about technology and stay on top of the latest inventions, but the best candidate will also have a lot of knowledge about your business and what your company does. Try to find someone with experience in both technology and your company’s industry.

Hiring an experienced CTO also helps your company when it comes to recruiting. A CTO who understands what to look for in other technology-related positions will be a huge asset if you expand the technology department.

2. Innovation
Innovation is necessity in business, and it is especially important for a CTO. Someone who can develop effective, never-before-seen solutions to your business’ issues will be a valuable employee – especially at the executive level. Having a chief technology officer with the ability to drive your company forward will help your business thrive.

3. Creativity
Creativity drives innovation. In order for new ideas to occur, someone has to think of new ways to approach old problems. This is where employees who think creatively provide the most value to your company.

Since the CTO is often responsibly for developing new ideas and innovations, hiring a creative chief technology officer can be a huge asset to your executive team. In addition, a CTO with a creative mind will have an easier time determining how new technology can benefit your organization.

4. Drive
As one of your company’s leading innovators, it is important that whomever you hire as CTO has the personal desire to move the company forward. Someone who is content with the company as it is – who possess no desire to help it grow – will be ineffective in a role that requires innovation to succeed.

5. Leadership Skills
A CTO will be responsible for leading your technology team into the future. Therefore, it is very important to evaluate how a candidate can lead when you’re deciding what to look for in a CTO.

While hiring a chief technology officer with experience and passion in the field will certainly help them lead the rest of your department, it is also important to note how they work with others. In order to create an effective team environment, a CTO must have people skills in addition to being tech savvy. Hiring a CTO with both of these attributes will encourage a positive environment for all of your technology staff.

You might be interested in these other posts about hiring a CTO:
When to Hire a CTO
How To Hire A Chief Technology Officer or CTO
15 High-Level CTO Interview Questions
What to Pay a CTO

How did you decide what to look for in a CTO? Let us know in the comments.


Y Scouts is a purpose-based, performance-proven leadership search and development firm focused on transforming how people and organizations connect to work that matters. When you’re ready to hire a new leader, Contact Y Scouts. If you are looking for your next leadership role within a purpose-driven, performance-focused organization, please join the Y Scouts Leadership Community.

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How to Find a CTO

What to Look For in a CTO

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