As an association or human resources professional, if you’re screening CIO resumes for the first time, what should you look for at a glance? You want to move through the hiring pipeline quickly but you don’t want to miss out on hidden gems to interview for the crucial role of chief information officer.
There are basic resume screening tips and rules of thumb to help you narrow the candidate pool and shortlist the best CIOs for the interview phase. Creating a system for reviewing resumes will improve your chances of selecting a true business influencer who can win over top IT talent, fellow C-suite leaders, and board members.
Here, we’ll walk through how to systematically screen resumes to advance boundary-pushing candidates for the CIO interview.
Interview-worthy CIO applicants craft a unique executive image and brand right off the bat.
A bite-size executive summary at the top gives you a quick career history. It’s a super brief, easy-to-read overview of the candidate’s career path laid out in the rest of the resume.
The brief narrative should be written in the culture of your organization and/or their vision for your association. This same, clear theme will be kept throughout the resume, from beginning to end.
Within 5-10 seconds of looking at the resume of your next CIO, you'll taste their passion, personality, and ability to command through their brief executive narrative. If it doesn’t have flavor from the get-go, don’t waste your time.
Be selective about what’s truly attention-grabbing. Strong CIO candidates know how to shape a story-like narrative. Trust your gut. A glowing CIO resume is irresistible not to read, it’s inspiring.
Ideally, you want an association leader who has changed the trajectory of an organization by leading the complete transformation of IT. How have they spearheaded the tools, systems, and processes used within an organization to fit with the mission of the organization and improve business outcomes? Are they focused on IT governance and value creation? How have they built a distinctive culture to encourage innovation and lead IT?
Interview-worthy CIO resumes weave in supporting numbers and stats that pop. These metrics should shed light on how much value the CIO will bring to your association. In other words, the ROI of hiring them.
Outstanding candidates are well-organized and to the point, highlighting pivotal IT & business leadership milestones and accomplishments alongside supporting quantifications. They highlight the results of successful IT modernizations, large change initiatives (digital transformations), and before-and-after technology implementations with efficiency improvement.
The value-added IT KPIs and performance metrics should include operational metrics (for example reducing operations costs or achieving efficiency savings with a newly structured IT practices) and revenue metrics (such as adding financial and strategic value).
Member-facing KPIs are great highlights such as projects that led to an increase in the number of members that paid dues online or simplified the online event registration process. It’s also important to see how CIO candidates actively measure business and stakeholder satisfaction and plan IT budgets.
Interview-worthy CIO resumes ditch the early career stuff. Instead, they save the space to quantify their success with strategic IT with projects that support the association's mission and enable the strategic goals.
Any gaps are clarified. It is clear the prospective CIO has the skills to plan, execute, and manage the IT strategy both in the short and long term.
Instead of their entry-level roles, they’re telling you about how they plan for, track, and realize high-potential opportunities. What do they say about transitioning from siloed to integrated, manual to automated, and reactive to proactive data process and member engagements? Do they think beyond current confines? How have they turned raw data into actionable information for decision-makers?
Soft skills matter for your next CIO. They're not just technically strategic; they’re also business-minded salespeople. In fact, modern CIOs are business leaders first and foremost. They don’t waste space and your time talking about hard skills.
Don’t cringe when the applicant showcases broader business acumen, leadership qualities, and the ability to collaborate as part of a team.
Soft skills of IT leaders include business strategy and IT innovation, IT roadmap and strategy, stakeholder relations, change management, IT management & policies, strategy behind digital products and services, availability and capacity management, cloud solutions, multi-vendor management, non-dues revenue opportunities, digital privacy culture and compliance, and other business-related skills and competencies.
Strong CIO candidate won’t bog you down by oversharing. The superstars worth questioning in the executive CIO interview save the narratives and flare for the face-to-face (and/or screen-to-screen).
The strongest CIO resumes are typically succinct one-pager with simple fonts and formatting choices.
And while there’s no one-size-fit-all format, one thing’s for sure: using too many bullets is like using none at all. Bulleted lists should be used sparingly.
Also, simple formatting choices ensure the resume can be analyzed by an applicant screening technology with a smaller possibility of interference. If your association is using a "talent engine” to review resumes, then you already appreciate the use of system-stack fonts and formatting.
It shows the applicant is thinking ahead. Even if you’re not using a recruiting software and are screening manually by hand – a simple resume that can be scanned with ease is best.
To be clear, anything that’s too technical should be trashed. At a high level, a strong CIO resume may mention experience with software commonly used in the association technology stack and career affiliations. But executive-level CIO resume really won’t dwell on hard skills and relevant technical certifications, if it’s mentioned at all. What’s important are the soft skills and value metrics.
Remember, you’re not screening an entry or middle-management level IT resume. You want to know how the candidate will keep your organization competitive using IT. How will they drive deeper member engagement, top-line growth, and the digital transformation? Accomplishing these tall orders demands a clear line of sight into your association’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
From cultural fit and association industry know-how to strategic vision and business acumen, you need to ensure your ideal CIO candidate has the right level of experience and competencies across soft skills (leadership, talent management); association IT and business challenges; personality dimensions (creativity, mentorship, “right fit”); and business aptitude (expense optimization, logical reasoning).
Drop us a line here if you need some assistance with your CIO resume screening or hiring pipeline. And don’t miss our in-depth hiring guides for executive recruiters and association HR leaders, 18 CIO Interview Questions and IT Maturity: What Type of CIO is Best-Fit?