Recruiting a CTO…

August 1, 2006

Two months ago, Seth and I determined that we needed a full-time technologist with us at OnCard to help manage (and understand) all the technology-related issues from outsourcing. We began a two-month search for a CTO (chief technology officer), which was the most laborious and tedious process we’ve gone through so far (it’s only been two months). We thought it would be most cost effective to put out a job posting on Craig’s List (we couldn’t afford Monster which was almost $1,000). This was the first mistake we made in the process. For those out there who swear by Craig’s List, I apologize, but for those looking to recruit a corporate executive, I would advice you to look elsewhere.

The basic process went like this:
Post job description on Craig’s List (pay $70)
Wait a week
Get 70 resumes
Throw 40 in the garbage
Engage in phone interviews with 30 candidates
Pass on 20 of them for not being the “right fit”
Schedule in-person meetings with 10 remaining candidates
Pass on 8 of them for not being the “right fit”
Give offer to one candidate
Candidate required excessive comp package we couldn’t afford
Down to last candidate – gave offer
Candidate took offer at another firm that was “later stage”
Back to the drawing board…

Besides the fact that most candidates were completely under-qualified, the remainder were primarily IT consultants phishing for new business, not a full-time start-up position. So we were back to square-one and decided to hold off making a decision on hiring a full-time employee. We focused on soliciting proposals from third-party tech development firms who could “manage” it for us and keeping our eyes out for qualified CTO candidates through our growing personal network.

Bottom Line: Don’t use Craig List for recruiting anybody in a start-up. Your best bet is through your personal network. I would recommend LinkedIn (more on that later). If you don’t have a personal network (i.e. you’re just starting out, don’t have any personal relationships and have never heard of LinkedIn), look to outsource the responsibilities to a third-party firm (even if you get names off Google). Get a few quotes and references and then make a decision.

JT

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