Summer is a busy time for CIOs, with pressures from a myriad of projects and unforgiving deadlines. It may also be a time for hiring and bringing on new HCIT staff. What do you use to evaluate final candidates? If you find yourself looking to hire new leadership staff in your department, an array of evaluating tools and methods may help determine the best fit for the job. Also, if you are a CIO candidate, don’t be surprised if the hiring organization puts you through a gauntlet of tests.
Organizations spend lots of money trying to find qualified HCIT talent, and many are incorporating testing and psychometric tools to reduce the risk of a “bad” hire. The HR department may have some of these tools but, when doing the hiring, you may want to use additional techniques to evaluate your final candidates. Here are a variety of tools and methods I have used or seen used. So if you can’t simply trust your intuition and “gut” instinct anymore, here are some ideas which may help.
Every candidate needs to supply three to five business references, which should include one or more previous bosses, peers and subordinates. The candidate is responsible for contacting their references and alerting them to a potential call. Don’t skip this step, remember at least three references need to be called and asked pertinent questions pertaining to your specific IT department needs, not just HR blanket questions. I don’t consider letters of recommendation useful in evaluating a candidate. If the candidate is a finalist and is receiving an offer, he/she may give you permission to call their current boss.
Candidate job-related questionnaires
In my practice, I ask candidates to respond to customized (per client) questionnaires with 12 to 15 open-ended questions. The candidates seem to enjoy the process, since it allows them freedom to give more detail than what is written in their resumes. It is a good test on grammar, writing and communication skills. It gives the hiring manager another method to evaluate potential candidates. The questions should be specific to the position you need to hire and allow the candidate to describe key accomplishments and management experience.
The psychometric tests and questionnaires evaluate personality and behavior characteristics. These are usually given online like the DISC profile, which is a good tool for those who teach, train, facilitate or present information to others. Seek out a trained DISC evaluator to help you understand the meaning of the candidate’s completed profile. Other assessment tools include the Myers Briggs test, and there is even a resource that can prepare you to pass these tests (psychometric success) on the Web. The tests have become commonplace as useful tools to assess corporate culture fit.
Finalists face more hurdles
Making the right HCIT hiring decision is vital to the success of today’s health systems. Finalists may be asked to submit project plans and strategic plans as a test. I know of one finalist CIO who had to prepare and present to the CEO as a final test a high-level project plan for deliverables, which included goals for 90 days and 6 months. One CIO I placed beat out the other finalist by hand writing a draft strategic plan on the second day of interviews and giving it to the CEO.
There are many ways to evaluate potential candidates — mixing and matching some of the above could result in finding the perfect fit!