The Seven Deadly Sins of IT Recruiting

The Seven Deadly Sins of IT Recruiting

Follow these and enjoy the fruits of a first-class team

As a CIO, you need a solid IT team to help you realize your strategic goals, make you look good in front of your peers, and allow you to focus on the most strategic elements of your job. Without a good team in place, especially at the leadership level, you will have a tough time moving up in the organization.

From my vantage point as a recruiter who works with CIOs to build their bench, many of you are on top of your game. Your hiring practices are sound and your searches are fast, efficient and successful. Yet some of you get in your own way despite a strong desire to hire the best.

In your honor, I have compiled a list of the seven biggest sins you can make when recruiting senior-level IT talent. Follow these, and stagnate in your current role. Turn them on their head, and enjoy the fruits of a first-class team.

Recruiting sin #1: Assume your hiring committee will conduct a great interview

Candidate interviews are tricky. They are part skills evaluation, part relationship building, and part selling the company and the role. I have had candidates tell me, "Each person I met with had a different perception of this position. I don't think they really know what they want." Or, "The interview was fine, but there is nothing really compelling about the company or the role."

Recruiting fix: Sit down with your interview team prior to interviews to make sure you are all on the same page about the role. Remind them that their job is to sell the company and the position as well as to evaluate candidates. "A big part of my interview is convincing the candidate that this a good place to work with the right mix of challenge and stability and career growth potential," says John Ulen, CIO of K Hovnian Homes. "I coach my team to do the same."

Recruiting sin #2: Take too long to make a decision

Joe and Larry and Sue and Kate still have to give you feedback on your two finalists, but they're involved in this major project and then Larry goes on vacation. And you expect your candidates to wait a few more weeks. Can your recruiter keep them warm? I have seen companies engage in a protracted decision-making process and lose their best candidate to a competing offer.

Recruiting fix: Give your interview team deadlines for delivering feedback, and stay on top of HR during the offer process. Even better, automate an interview feedback process so that your hiring committee can submit feedback wherever they are. The faster you can deliver an offer, the sooner you can hire a stellar candidate.

Recruiting sin #3: Hire by consensus

Your new head of delivery services will have to work well with the infrastructure team. Ditto for the development leaders, the finance exes and the sales organization. It makes sense that these teams meet your finalists. But many CIOs go too far and look for total consensus on a hiring decision.

Recruiting fix: "While it is smart to ask a number of different people to interview your applicants, you should do that as a final step, once you've decided on your finalists," says Jeff Chasney, CIO of CKE Restaurants. "Don't give decision-making authority to a committee," he says. "Democracy doesn't work in hiring."

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