There is a an old myth that 80% of the jobs are not advertised. Depending on who you talk to, you will get a variation of this number – from 40% to 80% of jobs are apparently filled without more than 2 people being interviewed. While that is not true in my experience for all jobs (it is closer to 20% or less), it is very high for senior roles. In this post I will give you a few actionable tips on how to make your name on the shortlist when founders, CIOs, CEOs and board members are looking to fill that crucial role of CTO for their organization.
Once you have decided that your goal is to become a CTO, you should direct your career to become a Chief Technology officer. The best way is to break down the goal into a working backwards plan to achieve your goal.
The first thing to realize is that there are far fewer positions than there are # of qualified candidates and for roles in the C suite, the right fit is absolutely crucial. So, while you may be interviewed, it is also likely that in 70% of the cases an internal candidate is chosen. The reason I mention this is so you realize that in most cases, you should be looking internally within your organization to see if there is a need for a CTO position.
The best way is to create your own role.
In this post my goal is to give you more “at bats” – or more chances of being interviewed for external positions.
The hiring executive for a CTO tends to be the CEO or founder in 34% of the cases (more for technology companies), the CIO (Chief Information Officer) in about 30% of the cases (especially larger companies) and CDO (Chief Digital Officer), CPO (Chief Product Officer) or board member in the remainder.
If you were to leverage this data, then the strategy to get shortlisted for CTO positions becomes both easier and harder.
Easier because you know who are likely the key people to hire CTOs.
Harder because those people are very difficult to network with.
There are 5 primary strategies you can use to make sure you are “Top of mind” for these positions.
- Make a short list of potential CEOs and CIOs in the companies you would like to work for (market segment, size) and find a way to add value to their work. I would recommend curating articles and content for them which helps them get a summary of key trends weekly.
- Build and maintain relationships with colleagues at your current company who are thinking of starting their own venture
- Build relationships with recruiters – there are specialty CTO hiring firms such as CIO Partners, YScouts and CTO Recruiter.
- Build a comprehensive social profile so you get inbound requests for CTO positions – GitHub, LinkedIn, Twitter, Blog and speaking engagements
- Contribute and work with a open source project which gives you an opportunity to work with the founder who could use help from you as a CTO
Now that you know ways to network your way into a job, what are the ways to find out about CTO jobs that are open?
There are 7 sources that have some listing of CTO positions. In no particular order, I would keep tabs on them every other week. The links below will only list the CTO open positions.