What to look for in a Chief Information Officer

Once you’ve decided when to hire a CIO, it’s time to begin searching for your next executive. But how do you know what to search for? Before you start finding potential candidates, it’s important to know what to look for in a CIO.

When you aren’t sure what personal qualities to look for, finding a CIO may seem intimidating. To make your search less stressful, here are six things to consider when you’re deciding what to look for in a CIO.

1. Purpose
As a purpose based executive search firm, Y Scouts focuses on hiring candidates who share a company’s passion. A candidate who is passionate about their position and shares their company’s drive is more likely to be engaged in their job. When an employee is more engaged with the position and the company, their productivity increases. Hiring a CIO who shares your company’s reason for working benefits both your company and your staff.

2. Curiosity
Technology is constantly changing. In order for a CIO to keep up on the latest developments, they need to be aware of new innovations in your industry. A curios CIO will go out of his or her way to ask questions and seek new information about the latest technology, which helps your company stay on the cutting edge.

3. Communication skills
As with any executive, a chief information officer needs to be able to communicate with employees at all levels of the company. Since a CIO will have to speak with both the technology department and executives, top-notch communication skills are essential. The CIO should be able to explain the company’s technology needs to executives who have little technology experience, which requires a thorough understanding of communication.

Good communication skills are also necessary to lead. If a CIO cannot communicate well, teamwork may be difficult for them. Since the chief information officer is responsible for leading your technology department, he or she needs to be able to work with the whole department.

4. Experience
A CIO needs to understand how your company operates. The best way to look for this kind of understanding is to examine a candidate’s work experience. A candidate with experience in your industry may have a better understanding of your company’s individual needs and how to fulfill them. In addition, he or she may be familiar with any industry-specific technology used in your organization.

5. Cultural Fit
When you’re figuring out what to look for in a CIO, determine which qualities most of your current employees possess. Your employees’ shared traits say a lot about the values your company finds important. When searching for a chief information officer, try to find candidates who share these qualities. By looking for an employee who fits into your current office dynamic, you increase the likelihood of finding a CIO who will be successful in the position.

6. Innovation
In order to apply new technology to your company, a CIO needs to be able to think outside the box. He or she must be able to come up with never-before-seen ways to implement this technology in order to keep your company up-to-date and effective. When technology is brand new, this may be a difficult task. Hiring an innovative CIO makes the process of implementing new technology a little less daunting. If the chief information officer is innovative, he or she has a proven ability to come up with new ideas that lead to success.

You might be interested in these other posts about hiring a CIO:
When to Hire a CIO
How to Hire a CIO
15 Exceptional CIO Interview Questions
What to Pay a CIO

How did you decide what to look for in a CIO? Let us know in the comments.


Y Scouts is a purpose-based, performance-proven leadership search and development firm focused on transforming how people and organizations connect to work that matters. When you’re ready to hire a new leader, Contact Y Scouts. If you are looking for your next leadership role within a purpose-driven, performance-focused organization, please join the Y Scouts Leadership Community.

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How to Find a CIO
What to Look For in a CIO

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