News
10/14/2011
01:27 PM
Chris Murphy
Chris Murphy
Slideshows
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail

8 IT Hiring Strategies Of Top CIOs

Learn the techniques that award-winning CIOs use to ensure the right talent for their IT teams--and apply the lessons to your own job hunt.




At Waste Management, CIO Puneet Bhasin takes recruiting seriously. Before anyone--from department head to entry-level business analyst--gets a job offer, the individual must go before a panel drawn from the IT leadership team. Bhasin himself is usually one of the panel members. It might only be a 10-minute discussion, but it gives those IT leaders a chance to meet the individual. Recruits are surprised to see the CIO or VP of IT making that commitment. "An entry level BA will say 'Jeez I can't believe you as a VP or you as a CIO are taking the time to talk to me personally about my experience and whether I'll be a fit for the organization," says Dave Logsdon, Waste Management VP of IT.

Recruits meet with a number of people one-on-one as well, all with the goal of making sure the person fits the organizational as well as the job specs. "We're looking for not just the right technical talent, but also the right cultural fit," Bhasin explains.

Bhasin is convinced he has a compelling pitch for recruits. He points to the 10 million tons of trash the company recycled last year as evidence it's helping the environment. He shows them IT's newly remodeled digs, with an open floor plan that's bathed in natural light. And tells them how IT is being used to truly transform Waste Management, with efforts such as using IT systems to drive pricing decisions to increasing use of mobile devices on trucks and containers. "Every technologist out there wants to work for a company that is using technology to transform its business. And I think we have a very genuine, very real, very strong story around that," Bhasin says.

Lesson for job seekers: Be ready to talk about the company's goals at the highest level. Could you handle an impromptu strategy chat with the CIO?




Technology is essential to Catalina Marketing, whose technology lets retailers print out coupons at the checkout customized to a person's buying habits. Nearly half of the 500 people at its headquarters work in IT. But CIO Eric Williams doesn't want people used to cranking out their piece of a giant software project. "I'm not looking for people who have worked in large development shops and are used to working in silos of development," he says. "Our teams are cross-functional, and they have to handle whatever needs to be done." People usually work in teams of 12 to 15 people, and the goals and requirements always change. "I'm amazed at how many people in technology like to have clearly defined requirements," he says.

Lesson for job seekers: Find a shop that fits your style, or you won't last.

Recommended Reading

More IT Pros Find Jobs, Report Suggests

How To Catch Recruiters' Eyes On LinkedIn

Top CIO Worry: People Problems

Tech Industry May Face H-1B Visa Shortage

Microsoft: Thousands Of IT Jobs Going Unfilled

Health IT Group Pushes Tax Incentives For Jobs

Tech Vendors Pledge 100,000 IT Jobs To Veterans

HR And IT Take On New Talent Challenge




Quintiles provide services to pharmaceutical companies such as running their clinical drug trials. So IT has always been critical to the operation. Now CIO Richard Thomas is trying to make IT a direct driver of revenue by selling as an online service the software portfolio and workflows it uses for those tasks. To do that, he had to change his IT organization. Quintiles had a strong back-office, but it needed people with more of an outward focus. So, Quintiles has hired more people with experience in IT vendors and IT service companies, where there's a "mindset of serving customers," Thomas says.

Says Thomas: "We look for folks that have a good track record, but then everyone does that. We look for intelligence, for motivation, for drive, for folks willing to put themselves into scenarios that might be alien to them, and who will succeed in that environment. You don't find these folks generally in regular, back-office IT, you find them in the innovative tech firms and working on the front lines with revenue generating IT."

Lesson for job seekers: IT pros can parlay their skills, as more companies are embedding IT into their products and giving IT more of a customer-facing role.

Recommended Reading

More IT Pros Find Jobs, Report Suggests

How To Catch Recruiters' Eyes On LinkedIn

Top CIO Worry: People Problems

Tech Industry May Face H-1B Visa Shortage

Microsoft: Thousands Of IT Jobs Going Unfilled

Health IT Group Pushes Tax Incentives For Jobs

Tech Vendors Pledge 100,000 IT Jobs To Veterans

HR And IT Take On New Talent Challenge


Vail Resorts CIO Robert Urwiler thinks mobile apps are changing IT itself. Vail last year launched a customer-facing Web and mobile app , EpicMix, that was one of the company's biggest projects last year. "This is much closer to a commercial software endeavor than an enterprise IT project," says Urwiler, who worked as CIO at Macromedia before joining Vail in 2006. "It will end up over time attracting a different kind of person to the IT role." To deliver customer-facing tech, IT needs employees who understand the company's customers. Urwiler doesn't require that IT pros be passionate skiers or snowboarders. But it helps.

Lesson for job seekers: Be ready to talk knowledgably about a company's end customers, not just technology. And if the industry bores you, so will the job.

Recommended Reading

More IT Pros Find Jobs, Report Suggests

How To Catch Recruiters' Eyes On LinkedIn

Top CIO Worry: People Problems

Tech Industry May Face H-1B Visa Shortage

Microsoft: Thousands Of IT Jobs Going Unfilled

Health IT Group Pushes Tax Incentives For Jobs

Tech Vendors Pledge 100,000 IT Jobs To Veterans

HR And IT Take On New Talent Challenge




PACCAR, the semi truckmaker and the No. 1 company in the InformationWeek 500, had a major strategic push on wireless--to deliver a more affordable, built-in way for dispatchers to track their vehicles and how they're performing. But PACCAR's IT team didn't have deep wireless chops. It had planned to hire that expertise, but when the recession hit, sales fell nearly in half, prompting layoffs across the company, including IT. So PACCAR turned to a small startup, also in Seattle, that built much of the capability. PACCAR learned wireless, and the startup, Signal Set, learned about manufacturers and large-scale project management. PACCAR worked closely with other partners, including Microsoft. "We couldn't add staff. We found ways to add expertise from outside our staff," CIO Kyle Quinn says.

Lesson for job seekers: Stock options aren't the only reason to work at startups. It could be the best place to break into a cutting-edge tech segment, one that larger employers may value as the tech matures.

Recommended Reading

More IT Pros Find Jobs, Report Suggests

How To Catch Recruiters' Eyes On LinkedIn

Top CIO Worry: People Problems

Tech Industry May Face H-1B Visa Shortage

Microsoft: Thousands Of IT Jobs Going Unfilled

Health IT Group Pushes Tax Incentives For Jobs

Tech Vendors Pledge 100,000 IT Jobs To Veterans

HR And IT Take On New Talent Challenge




CIO Tom Peck recruits tech talent to Levi Strauss in San Francisco, so there's both a deep talent pool and fierce competition for the best people. Peck knows how important the reputation of his IT organization is when it comes to hiring. "Most importantly, I need to have great leaders," he says. "If you have great leaders who are delivering, they'll attract talent with them. So, I need to have good people at my table who know good people who know good people. Success breeds success." That extends to maintaining strong relationships with vendors and suppliers, since that is a big part of a company's reputation in the industry--both IT and retail. The last piece of this reputation is letting outsiders and employees know the kind of complex IT work Levi Strauss doing -- from marketing in the digital economy to improving supply chains and to creating new retail store experiences. Then, a CIO needs to know what kind of people the company wants. "We try to look for that person who has the technology breadth but also has the business acumen and the leadership to want to deploy the technologies."

Lesson for job seekers: You know this one, but it can't be said enough in a job search--your own network and reputation matter more than anything.

Recommended Reading

More IT Pros Find Jobs, Report Suggests

How To Catch Recruiters' Eyes On LinkedIn

Top CIO Worry: People Problems

Tech Industry May Face H-1B Visa Shortage

Microsoft: Thousands Of IT Jobs Going Unfilled

Health IT Group Pushes Tax Incentives For Jobs

Tech Vendors Pledge 100,000 IT Jobs To Veterans

HR And IT Take On New Talent Challenge


"I meet with new hires every quarter, and ask 'Why are you here?'" says Michael Restuccia, Penn Medicine's CIO. "The No. 1 answer is I want to be at a place that makes a difference." It makes sense in healthcare.

Healthcare on average pays less than industries such as banking or biotech, but it can be demanding, so being motivated by the mission is important. "We go through a section process that looks for people who don't want to just work 9 to 5, but be part of a group that cares," Restuccia says.

Penn Medicine builds on that with its own charitable organization in which two people coordinate participation in events such as fundraising, and building projects for Habitat for Humanity. And when the 400-person IT team completes important IT projects, it celebrates happy hours or pizza parties. "It's more symbolic than anything, but we recognize achievements," he said.

Lesson for job seekers: Know how much the company's mission matters to you, and focus on industries accordingly. And know that every company takes its mission seriously--if you can't take diapers seriously, don't even talk to Procter & Gamble.

Recommended Reading

More IT Pros Find Jobs, Report Suggests

How To Catch Recruiters' Eyes On LinkedIn

Top CIO Worry: People Problems

Tech Industry May Face H-1B Visa Shortage

Microsoft: Thousands Of IT Jobs Going Unfilled

Health IT Group Pushes Tax Incentives For Jobs

Tech Vendors Pledge 100,000 IT Jobs To Veterans

HR And IT Take On New Talent Challenge




We're returning back to Eric Williams, CIO of Catalina Marketing, for this one. Williams talked with InformationWeek's Doug Henschen last year for a cover story on big data initiatives. After that, Williams got a flood of resumes from people with the kind of specialized skills in analytics, statistics, and data management that Catalina has a hard time finding. Usually, Williams says, "we are a marketing company that does the worst job of marketing ourselves on the face of the earth."

Our advice might sound self serving, since IW likes CIOs who talk (to us) about their work. And media coverage does come with risks. But talk about your IT projects, and there's a chance talent might walk in the door.

Lesson for job seekers: Stay on top of business and tech publications, anticipate who might need your set of skills, and craft a message directly to them.

Recommended Reading

More IT Pros Find Jobs, Report Suggests

How To Catch Recruiters' Eyes On LinkedIn

Top CIO Worry: People Problems

Tech Industry May Face H-1B Visa Shortage

Microsoft: Thousands Of IT Jobs Going Unfilled

Health IT Group Pushes Tax Incentives For Jobs

Tech Vendors Pledge 100,000 IT Jobs To Veterans

HR And IT Take On New Talent Challenge

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Email This  | 
Print  | 
RSS
More Insights
Copyright © 2020 UBM Electronics, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service