Interviewing technical people is hard…and it gets harder the more senior the position is. When you are hiring a Senior Engineer, you have Principal Engineers to help. The Director of Engineering (if you have one) will also need to be involved from their perspective. When Directors leave the company, the Engineering team can help with phone screens and some technical and culture interviews. But the CTO will need to be involved in the interview process because the Engineering team won’t know all the questions to ask – and may even pick a new boss that is going to be “easy”. Hiring the most senior technical role – whether CTO or VP of Engineering – brings unique challenges.  There’s probably no senior person capable of interviewing them from a technical perspective, and their peers don’t know enough about the role. Afterall, would you know what questions to ask about their thoughts on using Cloud Infrastructure or CI/CD?  

Don’t waste your time

Your interview process may be slightly different, but there will be some combination of resume review, phone screen, technical interview, and culture interview.  The deeper your candidates get into the process, the more it costs you, so be very strict and reject as many as you can, as early as you can. A maybe from anyone is a no! Hire too quickly and you’re more likely to regret it.  Replacing regular Software Engineers is expensive – replacing a bad CTO hire can be catastrophic to your company and derail your whole product roadmap.

A few hours is all it takes

To make the correct hire, you’ll need experienced senior technical leadership.  At Inventive we have 40 years experience in those leadership roles, from a 6-time VP/Director Engineering to the former Chief Architect of   Our leadership team knows what to look for, and will quickly be able to weed out the wannabe’s from the rockstars – it’s a hard truth, but in our experience half your team may be poor hires, either technically or (worse!) culturally. As the head of your technical organization, this is one position you don’t take chances with. Tactically, here are all the ways we can help:

  • Interview your leadership and engineering team leads with a view to polishing your job description.
  • Screen candidate resumes – you’d be amazed at the “smells” that come off a sheet of paper. Up to 80% of applicants will be rejected at this stage.
  • Phone screen and technically interview candidates. Even from technical interviews, we will get a sense of their culture fit.  
  • Help onboard the successful candidate. We’ve spoken to your team, so we already have a sense of fires burning and tasks to focus on, and can speak their language.

We offer Fractional CTO/VP services, to keep your team engaged and moving forward during the transition.  There’s no need to put your plans on hold or sacrifice deliverables or deadlines during this process.