The Recruiting Paradox (Chapter 7)

  • Companies needed good technology people.
  • Companies are in even greater need of technology talent than they were in the late 1990s.
  • To end your technology talent woes is to build talent development programs and grow your own.
  • CIOs are experts at business process change, but they have not done much to change the process of recruiting.

Requirements Definition

Beware of the purple squirrel

  • One of the greatest obstacles to a good search is in the way some CIOs define the roles they would like to recruit.
  • They define their senior positions based on what they need, not on the career paths that people actually follow.
  • The way over-specification of job requirements manifests because of the CIO’s desire to hire someone who is both strategic and technical at the same time.
  • The more you match your requirements to the career paths that IT professionals actually follow, the faster you will fill your roles.

Plan carefully

  • Most searches will take longer than you think.
  • Recruiting the right & qualified people takes time. Plan your timetable carefully.
  • Another recruiting paradox: CIOs are probably better at strategic planning than any other executive, but they don’t always apply that skill to their recruiting needs in order to launch a search before their world is on fire.

Devote the time

  • Give a position description gives some information.
  • Investing the time at the beginning of the search to talk through the role with your recruiter.

The Interview Phase

Stay in touch

  • Do not lose contact with your candidates, this kills the momentum.
  • Keep the communication going between you and your candidates, keep them updated on the recruitment process.

Keep the first round small

  • Set up a short first round with just you and an HR leader and leave the rest of the interview team for your two finalists.

Prep the hiring committee

  • Once you get to the final set of interviews, you and your interview committee are auditioning too.
  • You and your team must conduct an impressive interview.
  • Sit down with your team before the interview 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.

The Offer Stage

Remember that time kills deals

  • Give your interview team deadlines for delivering feedback and stay on top of HR during the offer process.
  • The faster you can deliver an offer, the sooner you can hire your winning candidate.

Keep your recruiter close

  • Your recruiting firm’s job as your search partner is to build a relationship of trust with the candidates they present.
  • Allow your recruiter full participation in the formation of that offer.

Beware the dark period

  • The dark period can occur at either of two specific points in the search.
      1. The first is when the finalist knows that she has been selected but, because of administrative issues, it is taking a while to produce the actual written offer.
      2. The second comes when the candidate has accepted the offer but is not due to begin work for another month.

  • As recruiters it is our responsibility to keep your candidate warm and to serve her up no matter the circumstances.
  • One of the primary reasons the candidate wants the job is that she is going to work for you. She is excited about having you as her manager.
  • When the going gets tough—and the offer is taking weeks—a call from you, the CIO, will go a long way toward sustaining your selected candidate through the dark period.


  • When you hire a recruiter to find you qualified candidates, it is her job to put the pedal to the medal and complete the search despite the obstacles.
  • Remember, we have a talent crisis on our hands, and you need recruiting to be a core competency.
  • The devil is in the details, and if you go to the trouble of hiring a search partner, put the process in place to make the relationship a success.
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