JB HOMER Retained Executive Search, specializing in executive search for technology and operations talent in a global market

Hi everyone,
In this article we are exploring whether you should hire for now or for the future. If you are hiring for now, how will you scale for the future? If you are hiring for the future, how will you retain this individual? And is there a way to assess a blending of the two?

Best Regards,
President, JB Homer Associates

Hiring for Today...or Tomorrow?
by Louis Gerzofsky
Director, Technology Recruiting & Executive Coaching

"I look to the future because that's where I'm going to spend the rest of my life."
George Burns

George may have been on to something when he uttered that line, particularly when it comes to executive hiring in the C Suite. We have found that by the time most organizations decide to go outside to find a CIO they have so many initiatives and projects in limbo that the position description reads more like history than prediction. The CEO and the Board may have exciting plans for the future - rapid growth, diversification, acquisitions, global expansion - but if there's a logjam of stalled IT projects in the hopper they may hire a candidate without the EQ and skill sets to actuate their vision for the future.

Most position descriptions are designed to 'fight' today's battles - which, in effect, are extensions of yesterday's battles (i.e., completing or turning around an initiative that was started months or years ago). Does your favorite candidate in the interview process reflect yesterday's successes or tomorrow's goals? How do you address the needs of the past without sacrificing your organization's ability to effectively compete in tomorrow's world?

How do you hire for change and transformation? One of the most important steps in the selection process will be identifying and partnering with the right executive search firm. Even if a candidate has experienced change or transformation in his career was it the right kind of change or transformation? Did he create a strategy and then deliver on it or did he fulfill someone else's strategy? If you're planning for rapid growth, will the new CIO be able to scale accordingly? Your executive search partner will be a key contributor to what should be a highly extensive assessment process.

If your organization's ecosystem is going to rapidly change, then your new CIO will need to evolve just as rapidly. He'll spend his first six months developing relationships with you and the business, assessing his direct reports and the overall IT organization and preparing a roadmap for the future, all the while working on easy fixes (i.e., 'low hanging fruit') that helps him develop credibility throughout the company. By the time he's really familiar with the ins and outs of your organization - as it used to look - will he be the right person to lead or keep up with transformation?

I don't have a list of easy 'to-do's' that will square the circle. However, some of the more successful approaches have included:

  1. The candidate short list should be comprised of people who have not only managed change and transformation but different kinds of change and transformation.
  2. Thorough psychometric testing: one of our clients will put the final one or two candidates through an entire day of testing that some candidates have described as one of the most grueling days of their lives.
  3. Board member involvement: If there are Board members who are willing to meet one or two finalist candidates, by all means get them involved. If none of them volunteer then you might approach them about their participation. Oftentimes they bring a diverse wealth of experience that your executive team might not readily possess.

Those are just a few examples. I would be very interested in any examples or ideas that you can share. This process is both an art and a science and along with a toolkit filled with interview methodologies it pays to maintain a healthy dose of humility.

If you would like to share your own insights,
please contact Louis using our Online Contact Form

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