How to Spot the Bull in a CIO Candidate: 5 Quick Tipoffs

What does one mean by the “bull” in a CIO? Are we talking about a stubborn bull, or a stampeding bull? No, actually it’s the kind of bull you might step in while interviewing a candidate who is less than genuine about his or her qualifications. In an article for Forbes, Sal DiFranco walks us through an interview with that would-be IT warrior.

The Perfect CIO Candidate

Businesses want a CIO who is quick on their feet with technology adoption. They want a man or woman who can speak the language of business and IT, who can take innovation-leaning risks while keeping cautious on current systems maintenance and cost. This perfect candidate exists, but be wary of the bull…

Tipoff 1 – A Delegator. DiFranco differentiates between the leader and the delegator. The project leader will be able to talk about their accomplishments on intimate terms. They hired all the people and served as architect of the project. The “delegator,” well, they just told other people what to do.

Tipoff 2 – Sans Success Story. Each project initiated by the candidate should have what looks like a completion, or attempted completion. A CIO who simply starts genius projects but never finishes either lacks a sense of direction or a sound sense of follow through.

Tipoff 3 – Managing Up. This tendency has another descriptive phrase – kissing up. If the person in the interview seat seems to have paid special attention to their fellow C-Suite execs while ignoring or glossing reports from the ground, they’re not truly interested in what matters to the company.

Tipoff 4 – Comfort with BAU. The merits of ‘keeping the lights on’ are on the wane, as they’ve been for quite some time. And yes, even now, there are candidates who insist on priding the accomplishments of maintain-and-protect – too bad you need innovators in this age of technological boom.

Tipoff 5 – Tech Addict. Now, why would there be anything wrong with a CIO who is thoroughly married to new tech? While tech-savvy is certainly encouraged in the ranks of IT, the CIO needs to be more than a pure innovator. Part of the power a CIO wields is derived from their ability to balance technology with business sense.

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