by Edward Prewitt

Recruiting Tips for Tight Times

Aug 01, 20023 mins
IT Leadership

Most CIOs are staying put in their job these days, waiting for the lean times to turn green again. Yet the market for CIO placements is only down, not out, says Kevin Rosenberg, managing director of BridgeGate, an executive search company based in Irvine, Calif. “About 50 percent of the client community remembers 1991 and knows what to do in a downturn, which is to look for the very best people to lead you out of it,” he says. “The other 50 percent needs to be educated on why this is a crucial time to focus on the caliber of their top people.”

Rosenberg finds that the criteria for CIO placements have shifted. “Companies are really embracing the well-rounded CIOs: people who are technical but worldly and who have the ability to articulate ROI, business impact and the effect of the technical solution,” he says. BridgeGate now looks for the same qualities in CIOs that it applies to CEO and COO searches. “We ask, What are your decision-making abilities, your leadership skills?” Rosenberg says. “It’s no longer: Have you implemented Oracle? Do you know SAP?”

A Better Mousetrap for Catching Candidates

Search consultants cater to the CIO level, but when CIOs need to hire IT staff, they’re on their own. Enter eProNet, a targeted job board started by Stanford University in 1989. Now owned by Boston-based, eProNet links potential employers with alumni of 30 leading universities and graduate schools.

Mark dos Santos, who graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 1997 with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in information systems, found a job through eProNet after leaving the U.S. Navy a year ago. With eProNet, “the companies that contacted me were a good match,” he says. “It seems they have a much better system for fitting your skills [with] companies’ needs than other job places I used.” In contrast, after he posted his rŽsumŽ on’s big national job board, “I got many calls and e-mails that weren’t a good match.” Dos Santos landed a job in the advanced technology group of Leapnet, a Chicago-based consulting company.

For employers, eProNet’s main advantage over other job boards lies in its tie to university alumni associations. “You’re frequently looking for people who are gainfully employed; you’ve got to work hard to find skilled IT people,” says Bill Hecht, executive vice president and CEO of the MIT Alumni Association in Cambridge, Mass. “EProNet is a mode that allows [IT workers] to search on a less-than-active basis.”