4 Tips for Hiring Your First CTO

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Technology is at the center of a revolution happening in the real estate world. From big-box commercial real estate brokerages to smaller secondary market offices, nearly every aspect of the real estate transaction is being impacted. With the technology impact, brokerages of all sizes are starting to explore CTO and CIO positions within their companies.

Jack Miller, now CTO of the Swanepoel T3 Group, but once CTO of the GoodLife Team in Austin, Texas, was a pioneer in the real estate world. He was a real estate CTO way back in 2009 when the role was few and far between. Today, companies like Marcus & Millichap, JLL, CBRE and others are adding technology focused positions to their ranks — it’s almost becoming commonplace.

But why?

Whether a brokerage is trying to recruit and retain top brokers or wants to simplify the purchase or sale cycle for their client, technology can help. In fact, we’ve talked before about the role of tech and culture in recruiting top talent to your brokerage and have an entire series created to help CTOs and brokers introduce new technology to their team.

If you’re thinking about hiring a CTO, we’ve put together a few questions to ask yourself to help as you navigate these waters.

1. What should the CTO solve?  

Before you embark on the journey of finding a rockstar CTO, make sure you’ve fully assessed your brokerage’s needs. Are you looking for someone with a technology background who can help you find and implement tools to make your team more effective and efficient? Do you need someone with an engineering background that will help you create proprietary systems?

The expectations and goals that you set for this role will help drive your hiring process — they are the foundation of the job search.

2. Do They Understand the Brokerage Needs?

From understanding the commercial real estate landscape to having a keen sense of what brokers truly need, it’s important that your CTO pick has a background in real estate or is able to quickly learn. They’ll be providing technology solutions to not only help the brokerage excel — but also to benefit your clients.

According to Y Scouts, “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.”

3. Are They a Culture Fit?

Whether you’re a commercial real estate giant that needs a CTO in the office working a 9-5 or a small boutique brokerage where spending Fridays working from home is a no-brainer, make sure you’re hiring with culture in mind. You want your CTO the gel with the rest of your team.

4. What’s the Plan for Adoption?

Technology adoption is perhaps one of the most difficult challenges brokerages face when bringing on new technologies. Make sure your potential CTO hire has a plan of action or innovative ideas on how they’ll help the brokerage encourage adoption of new tech. It’s great to have new technology —but not if it’s not being used.

Making it Work
If you’re hiring a CTO or are looking for helpful tips on how to encourage technology adoption at your brokerage, we’d love to be a resource to you. Having worked with countless brokerages over the years, we’ve learned a thing or two about the best practices for selecting, implementing and adopting technology. Reach out today.

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