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All Ears: “Bigger than the role,” how big companies hire top talent

I’ve been talking to a number of CIO headhunters recently for a story about using recruiters to land your next job. The standard line, as you might expect, is if you’re good, they’ll find you. But it turns out there are things you should–and shouldn’t do–to get on a recruiter’s radar. Visibility is important, and the story gives pointers on how to boost your public profile. Becoming a reliable source for a busy headhunter can also pay dividends. Stretching the truth–a big no, no.

To a person, the recruiters I interviewed said they remain busy, albeit listening for the proverbial shoe to drop on IT’s continued resilience amid some pretty awful economic indicators. Companies need good leadership in a strong economy, they said,  and in bad times, well, one could argue they need even better leadership. At any rate, the (mostly) large companies that hire these executive search firms are still looking for CIOs.

It must be OK out there in CIO land. In our annual survey of enterprise CIOs, we were surprised to learn that 67% of you are either mostly confident (44%) or very confident (23%) about your job security. And frankly, we were flabbergasted that 43% of you said you are more likely to leave your job this year than last year for a higher-paying job! Not so the headhunters, who pointed out that the CIO role is regarded as pivotal now at companies and good IT executives should be feeling secure.

“The CIO role in general has moved to the forefront…the requirements, the performance measures and the tolerance for anything but execution and results is zero, and the expectations are high,” said Chris Patrick, a technology consultant at the Dallas offices of search firm, Egon Zehnder International.

“The good ones should be confident because frankly they are probably very solid in their role and probably being approached by a bunch of  people like me and companies saying, “Hey I’ve seen what you can do; come do it for me,'” Patrick said.

Here’s Chris on the perils of not hanging around long enough to do something solid, and his inside scoop on how some of the biggest companies hire top executive talent: 


Be sure to check out our recruiting story, complete with pointers, on at

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This is a general comment for Linda and not specific to this article. Thanks for posting some of the very interesting articles I have read. Great job.
audio clip from c. patrick very interesting. think for gen x-ers like me 18 months in a job seems like a serious commitment. wonder if the concept that a year is too short to do anything meaningful is changing?
This is one of the best articles I've read in a while, and I've been in my career search for more than 6 months now. Thank you, SearchCIO! Gary Cobb, MBA, PMP IT Director