Opportunities for health system CIOs are out there and you’re applying — so why aren’t you getting asked for an interview or two? If you’ve faced this frustration in your job search, here are 10 reasons you might have failed to secure an interview, and some tips to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
1. Your emails lack professionalism.
Your business email communications need to be addressed to a specific person, contain well-crafted sentences, be no more than two or three paragraphs long, have correct spelling and grammar, and include your full contact information in the signature. Avoid emoticons, casual and loose phrases, and addressing an email “To Whom it May Concern.” An introductory email is one of the simplest ways to show your communicative ability and professionalism.
2. Your references don’t know you well enough.
Select peers, subordinates or bosses who know you well enough to answer specific questions. Your reference will need to know about your leadership and management style, your key accomplishments and contributions to the organization, and your strengths and areas that need improvement. Avoid giving references from jobs you held over five years ago, because they will not be able to address your recent accomplishments since ARRA and HITECH.
3. Your resume is not well formatted.
Avoid a poorly formatted resume with different font styles, too much bolding and italics, and unusual marks for bullets. A more conservative, reverse-chronological document is best for a resume, especially since three- or four-page (or longer) resumes are common for experienced health system CIOs. Strive for clarity and lots of white space to help with readability. Be sure to include several sentences describing your past employers and your responsibilities at those organizations.
4. Your resume lacks key content.
Include the healthcare IT keywords that are hot topics right now and detail your accomplishments. Have you attested for Meaningful Use, completed a successful EMR implementation with a vendor/product, accomplished deployment of CPOE, worked on ICD-10, led an HIE development, or managed the IT for new hospital construction, etc.? Be sure to bullet your accomplishments and start each with an action verb (implemented, led, developed, initiated, etc.).
5. You don’t have writing or speaking experience outside your organization.
Every CIO needs to demonstrate “thought leadership.” Apply for vendor user group or association presentations to build up your list of speaking experiences. Check out “How to Give a Killer Presentation” or join Toastmasters or other groups to improve your speaking skills. Contribute to a professional blog or write an article or case study for a healthcare IT journal.
6. You treat administrative assistants and other contact staff poorly.
Remember that everyone you communicate with during a search will remember how they were treated, and pass it on to their colleagues. Strive to treat everyone in a respectful, businesslike fashion. Rude or abrupt phone calls or emails will brand you as a difficult person to deal with.
7. You apply for the wrong positions.
Your dream job and location may only be a dream. First, you have to consider organizational fit. If a large, name-brand health system is seeking a CIO, and you have only worked for a small clinic, hospital, or physician practice, you’re wasting your time. Seek out organizations that are commensurate to your experiences or consider a number-two or other position at your “dream” employer.
8. You don’t meet the qualifications.
Not everyone will meet all the qualifications in a position description, but a successful CIO candidate should meet all of the basic criteria and most of the “nice to haves” to be considered and interviewed.
9. You don’t follow directions or stay in touch.
Be sure to follow all directions. If applications have to be submitted, or personality tests taken, be sure to complete them on time. Be available by phone or email, not hard to reach. Make it easy for yourself to be invited for an interview.
10. You’re not forthcoming with information.
There is a great amount of information needed on candidates to move them through the interview stage. Be sure to submit to education, employment verification, and background checks, give compensation information, or provide business references. Be compliant to these requests. They can be time-consuming, but once you have submitted information once to a search firm, usually only updates are needed in the future.