When you have the CIO job you realize that your success rests not on the importance of information technology, but rather firmly on the shoulders of those people who are on your team. What this means is that the process of hiring someone is a critical step in your career. Hire the right person and you’ll move forward, hire the wrong person and you may stumble or even be asked to leave the firm. How can you go about doing this correctly?
Interview People, Of Course
In all honesty, the interview is the least effective way of finding out if a candidate is the right person for a job. The reason for this is that, of course, they are on their best behavior during the interview. If they are good at hiding their flaws then you’ll never be able to detect it during the short time that you sit and talk with them.
All too often we end up making our hiring decisions based on our human judgment. The problem with this is that all too often, we’re wrong. There can be a number of different reasons for this, but the biggest one that I’ve found is that when I meet someone new I end up mapping them to someone that I already know. This can end up hiding a lot of the new person’s faults.
Considering how important this new person is going to be to your career, you’d really like to have a chance to get inside of their head. However, during an interview all you have to go on is what they chose to put on their resume. In the end, you just can’t find out what you need to know about the person during an interview.
Simulate The Job
A much better way to determine if someone is the right person for the job is to have them actually do the job. There is no other way that a faker will be exposed than to ask them to actually perform the work that you are thinking about hiring them to do.
Let the candidate know what issues the IT department is currently facing and then let them simulate performing the job that you are hiring for. We are not talking about something that can be accomplished in 30 minutes. Rather we are talking about something that is going to take from 8-40 hours to complete. Yes, that’s an investment, but considering how important finding the right person is I think that it’s worth it.
Ultimately, you’re going to walk away from this exercise with a better feel for if this person is the right person for the job. The flip side is that they will also have a much better understanding of what the job is going to entail. If it turns out that they no longer want the job, then they will have saved both of you a lot of pain and suffering by walking away.
Check Out Off-List References
References are something that I believe are a very important part of the hiring process. However, in this day and age I don’t think that we spend enough time checking them out. Most resumes have between one and three references listed on them; however, these are generally useless.
The reason that they are useless is because the candidate has already talked with these people and gotten them to agree to say only nice things about him or her. In order to determine what type of person your candidate really is, you are going to have to dig deeper.
This means that you are going to have to find and talk with off-list references. This means that you are going to want to find other people who have worked with this person and get their real impressions of them. Use your network of friends and associates to find these people. This way when you find them, they’ll feel obligated to provide you with an honest assessment of your candidate.
What Does All Of This Mean For You?
No matter how well you understand the technology of IT, that’s not what is going to make you a successful CIO. Instead, it’s the quality of the team that you are able to build in your IT department that is going to determine your eventual success as the person in the CIO position. This means that you need to learn how to pick the right people.
In order to fully evaluate the candidate for a job, you will, of course, need to start out by conducting a traditional interview. Next you’ll want to provide the candidate with an opportunity to actually perform the job. Finally, take the time to check out references that they didn’t provide you with.
There’s no doubt that you can be successful as a CIO. However, you’re going to have to master the art of hiring the right people. In order to do this you’ll need to learn how to use these three tips to make sure that you invite the right people to join your team.
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™
Question For You: When a job candidate is performing a job, what should you be looking for?
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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
Every CIO is looking to solve the same puzzle: what do they have to do in order to get the most productivity out of their IT department? It turns out that sometimes the solution to this puzzle is to temporarily forget the importance of information technology and take the IT department out of the company and go on a retreat. However, if you do a poor job of throwing a retreat, then it will all be for naught. How can a CIO make a retreat create the results that he or she is looking for?