CetoAI hired a CTO in less than two weeks with Haystack

Harriet Oliver
Newcastle Upon Tyne
Company stage
Company size
2 - 20
Data Analytics, Maritime
CS Manager
Harriet Oliver
Harriet Oliver
Hired by
Role title
CetoAI hired a CTO in less than two weeks with Haystack


Key hire

Finder & advertising

Hiring tools

2 weeks

Time to hire

Ceto.AI are a start-up specialising in predictive analytics in the maritime space. They capture real-time info to visually display stats to ship owners, ship managers and insurance managers to reduce machinery breakdowns on ships. CEO Tony Hildrew came to Haystack as he needed a CTO quickly, and he was struggling to find what he was looking for using ‘traditional’ recruiters. Since hiring a CTO through Haystack, they've continued to use us as their primary source for tech talent and have made multiple hires since joining. We sat down with Tony and the CTO he hired through Haystack, Ben, to find out how the experience has been…

Tell us a little bit about how you found your CTO Ben on Haystack…

Tony Hildrew: I found Haystack to be very quick and very easy. We initially had a call with Paul, and he then set me up with Harriet, who was our account manager. We got our profile up and running, and from there reached out to candidates that I found were best suited to the role that we were hiring for. We were hiring a technical lead, and the process was super slick. I sent Ben (CTO hired through Haystack) a message in the platform, and from that, we exchanged back and forth, set up interviews, went through a couple of stages of technical interviews on our side and then made the job offer. I think the process took about two weeks in total, which for a senior hire is very quick.

The Ceto AI team

How did you find the process from the candidate’s point of view, Ben?

Ben Harrison: From a candidate perspective, it was very straightforward. I initially downloaded the app and created my bio because although I wasn't actively looking, I did think it was the type of thing where something good might come along, and that's exactly what happened. So in that regard, it did exactly what it was meant to and exactly what I'd what I'd hoped it would do. I deliberately hadn't signed up with any recruitment agencies because that's not really how I work and operate. I thought  I was perhaps being a bit ambitious because typically I work very closely with founders or senior leadership roles, and I didn't expect those roles or positions to come along in startups. But sure enough Haystack catered for me and put me in touch with Tony. We've formed a really good pairing and I think we work really well together.

How had your experience of other tech recruitment solutions been prior to launching on Haystack?

Tony Hildrew: We were using Startup Jobs and LinkedIn, primarily. I  put a post on Indeed as well, but the results it was yielding weren't the  type of people  we needed to fill that role. It was either a lack of experience, a lot of junior candidates applying, or in some cases, a lot of overseas candidates applying. We wanted the role to be Newcastle based and very much in office.

How did Haystack stand out from those other platforms?

Tony Hildrew: I think the ability to communicate quickly through instant messaging was really useful. You can immediately send out messages to candidates that you think could be a good fit, get their perspective and understand exactly what they're looking for a lot quicker than exchanging emails. The instant messaging was just ideal. Quick, to the point, and you quickly understand whether people are interested or not.

Did the communication work as well on the candidate’s side of things Ben?

Ben Harrison: Communication was very straightforward. I liked that as a candidate you speak directly to the hiring company. And now being on the other side of the fence when I've been using the platform to hire, getting to speak directly to candidates is much better. In my opinion, it's just the way it should be managed and handled, because as Tony says, you get a much better feel for whether they'll be a good fit from day one. I was immediately excited about the opportunity because when you speak to the team themselves, you get a much better indication of whether it's a route you want to pursue or not. In a lot of interview processes, it's only as you get further down the line that you really get a feel as to whether you want to work for the company. This way round, you get that almost immediately.

Finally, do you have any advice for anyone working in Talent Acquisition that’s struggling to attract the right talent?

Tony Hildrew: If you're looking for technical hires and you're looking for a quick and cost effective solution, then Haystack is definitely the platform to go to.

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