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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.

Chou, who in his prior role used LinkedIn to recruit a director of IT operations and a director of IT infrastructure, says users who are highly engaged with LinkedIn take personal pride in their brand. “Those employees are going to be the top 10 percent in the workforce,” Chou says.  

How headhunters pluck CIOs from LinkedIn

Sometimes the CIOs themselves are recruited via LinkedIn. When Ken Sayward was managing applications at real estate firm Colliers International last year he received a LinkedIn direct message from Chad Young, the director of national recruiting at Marcus & Millichap. Young told Sayward his credentials on LinkedIn suggested that he was a good candidate to replace the real estate company’s retiring CIO.

Young says the executive leaders wanted someone with experience in real estate and a heavy application development background. “Coming from a competitor was crucial, as they really understand our business,” Young says. A quick search on LinkedIn turned up Sayward. Young says the firm “heavily relies” on the platform for corporate placement. But he says success depends on how detailed candidates’ content is on their profile, as well as how active and connected they are on the platform.

Sayward hadn't been looking to move on from Colliers, but a chat with Marcus & Millichap senior executives intrigued him. "What really attracted me was the role that the executive team sees for IT in terms of strategically driving this business," says Sayward, who joined the company in September.

Sayward’s path to the CIO office is rare in an era when IT leaders are being placed by the likes of Russell Reynolds Associates, Heidrick & Struggles, Korn Ferry and a litany of other executive search firms. And Fetter says LinkedIn won't replace professional headhunters, who pull candidates out of established organizations, vouch for the cultural impact they'll have on organizations, and help negotiate contracts. But, he says, leading organizations must also use LinkedIn to compete for talent.

"This is a digital world that we live in," Fetter says. "LinkedIn has become a reference book for talent so you have to figure out how to engage in that medium."


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