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Find the Right Senior Level Talent for Your Startup 

Hiring senior talent has proven to be a challenge. Not only is there a smaller talent pool to choose from, but it’s also a high-stakes hire when the impact the potential candidate may have on the company is considered. If hiring senior employees stresses you out, and you’re not sure where to start, don’t panic! Here are a few things you should consider before you decide who you are going to hire! 

What do you need? 

Before you spend time and money revving up the recruitment engine to find your new hire, you need to decide if this is a role you need to fill with a full-time employee. Consider the option to hire someone more senior in a fractional role.

Enter the fractional CxO. A fractional c-level is a professional who provides expertise and experience in a specific business area but only works with your company on a part-time or project basis. You can benefit from their skills and knowledge without hiring a full-time employee. For example, Nicholas Nadeau of Nadeau Innovations offers fractional CTO support tailored to the needs of your business. “Having somebody at that CTO level [in an advisory role] will help you set a roadmap that the team can execute on and lowers the barrier to entry for a lot of development.” The other challenge is most senior-level talent, having progressed further in their career, have left the day-to-day tasks behind and focus more on the strategy; “so having someone who can switch between strategic, tactical, and hands-on is the balance that most early startups need.”

Why consider a Fractional CxO? 

When you bring on any new employee, there is always a risk. How will they integrate with the team? What are they like? How will it change your existing dynamic? The list goes on. Although there is always a risk when considering a fractional CxO, the pros greatly outweigh the cons, in our opinion. As Nicholas shares his experience as a fractional CTO, “coming in as an outsider is key. That independent perspective and just being that person in the room that asks ‘why?’; making sure that the team fully understands their problem space before jumping straight into the solution space is key. That’s why you bring in the senior people, the experts; they’re greater than the sum of their parts. They know the industry, they know the world, they know the domain, they have the network connections to say, Aha!, I know somebody that can help with this problem. I know a subcontractor who can focus on this. I know how to set the company up for success.”

As a fractional team ourselves, we might be a little biased. Still, we know hiring senior resources is hard, and frequently, throwing a person at a problem isn’t necessarily the right solution. So, in our experience working with Nicholas and Nadeau Innovations and their fractional CTO model, it is about more than just the flexibility and more than just the expertise; it’s also the independent point of view of what is the problem that you’re trying to solve.

What about your organizational culture? 

We get it – your startup is your baby. You’ve spent countless hours developing your product or service, brought on your most trusted advisors, and now you’re considering handing a piece of that over to a fractional CxO. You’re worried about how that affects your internal culture. Like any new hire, you want someone who is the right fit for your team, and a fractional CxO is no different. It’s essential to find someone who believes in your team, sees the vision, and is ready to help you get there. As Nicholas Nadeau says, “The team, especially at the early-stage startup level, should be exactly that, a team. You’re a cohesive unit, all with one mission, one vision, one set of values that you’re executing on.” To have a cohesive culture, you need a cohesive communication strategy. A fractional CxO can ensure your team continues on the path to success. 


Still want full-time senior-level talent? 

One of the other key benefits of working with a fractional CxO is that they can help identify and recruit senior talent. Most often, senior-level hires are passive candidates – those that are not currently looking for a new job. According to an Experteer career services survey, 97% of senior candidates in a company want to be ‘found’ or ‘approached’ by headhunters for relevant vacancies. With that in mind, you’ll need to get your personalized outreach plans in place pronto.  

Outside their technical expertise, a fractional CxO will understand the industry and can help you identify the skills and experience needed to support your company’s growth. They can also help you create personalized outreach plans and strategies to attract senior-level candidates. Not only do they have the network to help you find the right person they can help sell the company, role, and benefits to potential senior-level candidates. As CEO of Pivot + Edge, John Fleischauer, explains, “To be successful at approaching, attracting, and hiring the more senior folks, you have to take into consideration the factors by which the person is evaluating the opportunity and ask yourself ‘is it substantially better than what they have?'” A fractional CxO can help you understand and communicate the unique value proposition of your startup to potential senior-level candidates.


In conclusion, hiring senior talent for your startup can be challenging, but it’s possible. By working with a fractional CTO and implementing other strategies, you can find and recruit the senior employees your startup needs to succeed. 

If you’ve decided after reading this that you need a full-time senior-level employee, head over to our other blog for some key things to look for when interviewing, tips on where and how to find the right candidates, and more helpful insights on attracting senior-level talent.


If you’re an avid Pivot + Edge reader, you’ll know by now it wouldn’t be a blog without a little shameless plug! If you’re interested in learning more about how Nicholas Nadeau, and Nadeau Innovations, can help your startup with fractional CTO services, reach out! We promise he’s a nice guy! Or, if you want more information on hiring in general, hit us up! We’re nice too!

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