How Ogilvy & Mather's CTO Finds Great IT Talent

IT job seekers must discuss their past actions to show their knowledge, the impact they have made for their organizations and what they have learned from the experience, says Ogilvy & Mather CTO Yuri Aguiar.

IT job candidates: What decisions have made you stand out? What mistakes have you made in your career?

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These are two of the most important questions Yuri Aguiar, senior partner and chief technology officer at Ogilvy & Mather, likes to ask job candidates as he seeks out the best IT talent to work for the global advertising agency.

Aguiar, who was honored as a Ones to Watch winner, is a rising IT leader himself. He spoke to CIO.com at the recent CIO Leadership conference in Boston. (You can watch video excerpts of his interview.)

“What kinds of decisions candidates have made that pull them into the limelight: those tend to be turning points in their lives,” Aguiar says. Asking candidates about their regrets helps him understand if a job candidate has moved on from their past mistakes. The idea: everyone makes mistakes. The question really is, what did you learn from the experience?

Aguiar says staff contacts are a great place to start recruiting, and his group sometimes attracts employees from other departments at Ogilvy and trains them. Conferences are another recruiting tool.

One other question Aguiar seeks to answer: what interests outside of the office do job candidates have? He’s looking for hobbies and other pursuits. Aguiar says he tends to choose people who demonstrate some balance in their lives.

Of course, that should not be taken to say that Aguiar is an easy boss. He notes that one of his mentors taught him a valuable lesson by quoting from the playwright George Bernard Shaw: “Unreasonable men get results.”

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