Starbucks' CIO Stephen Gillett Seeks "Pillars of Strength" During Economic Storm

Starbucks is in the middle of a high-stakes turnaround, and it's young new CIO is in charge of recruiting the IT leaders who will help the coffee company regain its steam. In this latest Hiring Manager Interview, Gillett discusses his recruiting strategy.

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Have you ever hired somebody based on a letter, résumé or phone call sent directly to you?

No. While I get a lot of people sending me their résumés, my hires have either come from my network or through a talent acquisition department. I do not think I have ever accepted a cold call where that person ended up getting hired.

What advice can you offer to candidates about their résumés, thank-you notes and cover letters?

Think differentiation with a capital "D." A lot of people are very traditional. They send traditional follow-up or thank-you notes and then they ping the hiring manager or the human resources professional within a certain amount of days.

I would look for ways to differentiate your résumé, perhaps in ways that may look a little untraditional at first. I received a professional résumé for a highly qualified candidate, and when I got down to the hobby section, it said, "I can juggle four things at once and I lost Jeopardy." That differentiated the candidate for me and actually got the candidate's résumé to the top of my stack. I am looking for innovative, risk-taking and differentiated backgrounds for our roles here.

John Mann is associate director of The Alexander Group. He is based in the executive search firm's Houston office.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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