CIO columnist and executive recruiter Martha Heller recently wrote an article outlining key skills for would-be CIOs as they look to advance in their careers. As she put it, “While for every CIO search my team and I conduct, we have specialized attributes we are after…we are always in hot pursuit of one general set of skills.” Her piece provides insights into these capabilities, as well as the tactics recruiters use to assess them.
So, if you have your sights set on a C-level seat, read on for ways to distinguish yourself to the hiring team.
Don’t Confuse Implementation with Transformation
In the digital age, a common interview tactic is asking for details on a recent transformation spearheaded by the candidate. Heller writes that some aspiring CIOs confuse this with a basic technology implementation, which suggests they lack the strategic vision essential for success in the position today. She states, “The kind of transformation that I’m looking for is a strategic change to the IT environment—and the company’s culture—that creates end-to-end processes out of legacy silos, establishes a data-driven mindset, or puts the customer at the center of business operations.”
Demonstrate Data Acumen
Heller writes, “How can four little letters define the future of our world? For such a short word, data is the new currency of our business.” As such, it’s essential that all would-be technology leaders not only grasp how pivotal data is to business success, but also demonstrate an ability to institute the cultural change required to become a truly data-driven business.
Possess Technical Depth
The definition of technical depth will vary based on company size, industry, and specific circumstances, but, as Heller states, “It always means the ability to dive deep on technology when you need to and having an acute knowledge of the provider marketplace.”
A Procurement Eye on Emerging Technologies
Vendor management used to be all about negotiating contracts and ensuring ROI, however, it’s becoming increasingly important for CIOs to advise the business on new technologies and providers that can help usher in the next phase of corporate growth. According to Heller, “These companies need their CIOs to make smart bets on new vendors that provide a niche solution for the business they are becoming. Vendor management involves a venture capitalist’s eye on the emerging technology market.”
Check out Heller’s piece for more on the critical skills required of CIOs today—and how you can put your best foot forward in a crowded talent market.