Here are some recent questions from CIO candidates and my responses. I hope you can relate to some of the situations and find my answers helpful.
CIO #1 Question
I read with interest your recent series on working with a healthcare executive recruiter. In it, you talk about how a good recruiter will become an advocate for you, coaching you and ultimately helping you negotiate a package. It sounds like what an agent would do. Is there really much of a difference between a healthcare recruiter and an agent that an actor or athlete might use? Thanks!
Dear CIO #1,
Good question. There are big differences between an agent for an actor or an athlete and a retained executive recruiter working with a candidate. It mainly has to do with who is paying for the services. The recruiter works on a retained exclusive basis to find executives for the hiring firm. The hiring firm—not the candidate—pays the search fees and expenses. On the other hand, agents are hired by an actor or athlete to represent them in finding work and negotiating deals. The agent must present their clients’ skills and qualifications, and if they are hired, the agent gets paid a percentage of the total contract or a set fee.
I need some advice and/or counsel. I have never been in the position of looking for a job before, so this is all new to me. I’m extremely interested in an open hospital CIO position and have let your firm, which is conducting the search, know this. I think it would be great fit for me. In the meantime, I’ve been asked to take on a project by a large healthcare consulting firm, and am supposed to sign my acceptance letter this week. If I take the consulting work do I risk taking myself out of the running for the CIO job?
Dear CIO #2,
A typical CIO search will go on for at least two months and sometimes much longer, so if you are anxious to get to work, consulting is a good transition. If you sign on for a three- or six-month contract, then you can still remain a viable candidate in the CIO search. If it is a longer contract or potentially full-time position, this would likely preclude you from staying in the CIO search. You’ll have to decide for yourself what to do. Nevertheless, if you take the consulting work, it looks good on a resume and could help you land that coveted CIO position somewhere down the road.
I’d like to work with you in order to be considered for an open VP/CIO position, but I’m not sure I have the qualifications needed. My IT leadership experience is in a single hospital environment, but the role posted requires time spent in a multi-hospital health system. It also requires more years of experience than I have. Should I still apply? If not, how can I address the gaps in my experience or skill set to be able to assume a new VP/CIO position in the future? If you would be so kind, please let me know what I need to do.
Your background experience is valuable, but for now you may want to look at an Associate CIO or director level position at a larger more complex health system. That will help you build your resume in that environment. You may also consider working for a healthcare IT consulting firm to give you a variety of vendor and health system experiences to add to your resume.
If you are starting your job search and have specific questions, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.