What is Your Ideal Next Job?

Bonnie R. Siegel, Partner, Sanford Rose Associates

Most of us are too busy doing our current jobs to think about what would be our “ideal” next job, but it is a common question asked by executive recruiters.  Recruiters are curious to find out if you are a fit for the position, but also to learn something about your dreams and aspirations for the future.  Let’s examine some recent responses from candidates for a health system VP/CIO position.  Have you thought about your next best job?  How would you answer the question?  What are you looking for in a position?  If you could have your ideal next job, what would it be?

Small to big

Many of the CIO candidates who are CIOs at smaller, single hospitals or large medical groups want to move up to the larger healthcare delivery systems, or even to administrative roles.  They want more challenges, and perhaps a bigger IT budget to work with.  Here are some responses along those lines:

  • “The ideal next job would be the CIO of a larger health system.  I want to make a difference and believe in the healing mission.  I believe my experiences can help a struggling organization achieve its goals.  My experiences with senior management can make a difference.”
  • “I am a VP/CIO now, but it is at a single hospital system, and I am looking for a bigger multi-hospital CIO position with more challenges.”
  • “I would like to be in an integrated delivery system with a great reputation. I want to help the economics of healthcare and nudge with IT.”
  • “I have been a CIO five times and want to move over to a COO or even CEO of a health system.”

Big to small

If some want to move from a smaller system to a larger organization, some other CIOs from large multi-hospitals systems are seeking a better quality of life, and are looking for small community-based health systems in smaller cities.

  • “I prefer a medium-sized organization in a senior level IT management position.  After many years in a large multi-site, multi-state organization, I feel my ideal next job would be in a stable mid-size health system where my actions can be seen and felt more quickly.”
  • “Born and raised in the West and after living in a big metro area, we want to relocate to a smaller community for the quality of life.”
  • “I prefer to be at a faith-based organization which matches my values in a smaller community.”

Move to the provider/acute care side

There are many individuals outside of health systems – like consultants, vendors, and even non-healthcare IT professionals – who would like their next job to be CIO of a health system.  There are health system CIOs who have made that leap successfully.

  • “The ideal next job for me is to be a CIO and get back to the healthcare delivery side of the business.  I have been consulting for six years and want to get off the road.  I have been a finalist or #2 in at least three CIO searches recently.”
  • “I have over 20 years as a CIO on the managed care/insurance side of healthcare and feel my experiences can be advantageous to the provider side.”

Clinical/patient care professionals want to be CIOs

Clinicians are moving into CIO and senior IT executive positions at a rapid rate.  Physicians, nurses, pharmacists, radiologists, med techs, respiratory therapists, etc. are CIOs at many health systems across the country.

  • “I am looking for an opportunity to utilize my broad-based background in clinical operations to lead a health system as their top technology executive.”
  • “As a physician and CMIO, I can see my next ideal job as CIO of the health system.”
  • “My 10 years of nurse management and 10 years of being in IT as Associate CIO have prepared me to be the next CIO.”

More challenges needed

A common “ideal” next job for CIOs I talk with is one in which they can be challenged and help an organization succeed.  They want a senior management team who buys into IT and will include them in all strategic decisions for the organizations.

  • “I’m not a maintenance guy, I want to look for challenges. After many years as a CIO, I may look at a COO position later in life.”
  • “This could be my last job, so I am picky about what I look at. I need to be interested and not bored, I want to bond to the team.”
  • “I want to be effective and help an organization. I want to be challenged. I’m looking for a stable lifestyle for my family.”

So the take away from this post is to be honest about your dreams and wishes.  We all have an “ideal” next job in our head.  It is even okay to say, “I would love to open a winery in Tuscany,” if that is your dream.  It may be just a different type of CIO opportunity that is your goal.  Take into account your lifestyle and family needs, and go for it.


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