Talent management is a critical skill for CIOs now and will soon be indispensable for setting up IT outposts globally. Here are some expert tips for excelling as a global talent scout.
By Kim S. Nash, CIO
CIOs have to know how to hire well. Talent management is the biggest challenge for CIOs, according to a very unscientific but telling poll at our CIO Forum on LinkedIn. But by 2017, CIOs will have to become global talent scouts, staffing IT offices in many countries with a mix of ex-patriot and local professionals. The problem is that CIOs today aren’t always the best hiring managers of U.S. staff, never mind staff in other countries, as readers of this blog have discussed, to my delight, rather vociferously.
The other day, I talked with Martha Heller, an executive recruiter and CIO.com blogger, about how CIOs can improve their basic hiring skills, then translate them to hiring beyond the U.S. She had a lot of good advice but I want to zero in on a couple of the more artful aspects of hiring that CIOs need to work on.
For example, determining whether a candidate will fit in is doubly hard in another country because of different cultural norms, Heller says. Enlist a trusted local IT director to help assess anyone you’re seriously interested in hiring, she suggests.
The most important thing a CIO can do to hire successfully anywhere is to impress the candidate, Heller says. That sounded counterintuitive to me. Aren’t job applicants supposed to impress potential bosses? Yes, but the best applicants will likely be considering job opportunities other than yours. The CIO should sell to them, she says. “Retention starts before Day 1 of employment.”
For example, describe a couple of scenarios for how the candidate’s career might progress under your leadership. Also explain how he would be part of your leadership team and what influence he would have, or could earn. Smart, ambitious and creative IT professionals want to know that they have critical responsibilities and influence no matter how far from the U.S. they work, she says.
CIOs with IT offices outside the U.S. find ways to make themselves a regular presence in those places when they can’t be there in person regularly, Heller adds. Most often, they use video conferencing to hold frequent meetings. The idea is to create an inclusive work atmosphere even thousands of miles apart.