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CIOs look to LinkedIn to recruit (and be recruited)

Clint Boulton | Feb. 26, 2016
CIOs are finding a reprieve from the global IT talent vacuum in LinkedIn. IT executives are using the professional social networking platform to land new gigs.

Facing an IT talent shortage, CIOs are haunting college campuses, hiring interns, and poaching peers from rivals to staff their digital transformations. However, some CIOs are finding that good IT talent is a just a LinkedIn search away, while others use it to seek new career opportunities.

"It is a great forum for us to post our jobs outside of our own site or job boards," says Victor Fetter, CIO of LPL Financial. He says the company's talent acquisition team regularly lists open positions on the site. He also fields one or two queries a week from technology workers interested in working for the company. Like other CIOs, he looks for people versed in coding, project management and developer operations, among other skillsets, to complete IT projects that support the business. This is no easy task.

Roughly 60 percent of 4,000 CIOs surveyed by Harvey Nash Group and KPMG last year said that the dearth in analytics, application development and change management experts will hamper their efforts to keep pace with digital change. Walgreens CIO Abhi Dhar told that his toughest challenge is finding IT people that are the right cultural fit for an IT department that emphasizes customers. LinkedIn is one more tool CIOs are using to help fill those gaps.

LinkedIn helps CIOs vet candidates, network

After Fetter identifies a potential candidate, he will research them on LinkedIn, verifying credentials, seeing who has endorsed them and reading up on anything they might have shared with their network. This gives him a glimpse into the person behind the profile. "It's a good double check to say: 'What is the broader community saying and thinking about this individual and how is this individual representing themselves and would you feel good about this individual representing your company?'"

To recruit effectively on LinkedIn, it's imperative both to network with peers, including making introductions and asking to be recommended, and promote the company. Such visibility will "get across that message that: 'We are doing some great things. You may want to come work here.'"

Professional networking is a common gateway for recruiting. When VMware CIO Bask Iyer considers a candidate he'll rifle through his CIO contact list and scour LinkedIn to find folks who know and will vouch for the individual. "The world is so connected these days," Iyer says. "You used to be able to hide, but two clicks into LinkedIn and you're going to find somebody that knows [the candidate]."

Networking on LinkedIn is one of the primary ways David Chou, an IT consultant who left his job as CIO of the University of Mississippi Medical Center in December, is lining up interviews for his next gig. “It’s a great platform for me to get my next role,” Chou says, adding that he’s been contacted via LinkedIn by several parties inquiring about his availability, or asking if he knows anyone that might want to work with them. Even if a role he is exploring isn’t the right fit, he’s established a new relationship and will be in a “Rolodex for something in the future.”


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