How to Ace a CIO Job Interview

In a CIO job interview, you must prove three things: that you'll help the hiring company achieve its business objectives, deliver the desired leadership abilities and fit in with the senior management team. Here's expert advice on how to nail all three.

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CIOs seeking new jobs: Time to shine your shoes, press your suits and prepare for interviews. The CIO job market is strong, say executive recruiters. Companies have shifted their focus from cost-cutters and are now looking for visionary IT leaders who can partner with the front office, are focused on external customers, speak the language of business and can use data to drive revenue or uncover new business opportunities, says Katie Graham, managing partner of executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles' global information officers practice.

As strong as the CIO job market is, competition for these positions is fierce. "There are fewer tables and fewer seats at those tables," says Shawn Banerji, a recruiter with Russell Reynolds Associates' information officers practice. "You don't have Bear Stearns. You don't have Lehman Brothers. There's huge consolidation in the healthcare and media industries, as well, so competition for these roles is much steeper than in the past."

Consequently, CIOs who become contenders for these jobs face an arduous interview process full of potential pitfalls. To help you prepare for CIO job interviews, explains what to expect at each round—from the questions you should ask and the ones you'll need to answer, to mistakes that will crush your chances of landing the job.

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