When to Hire a Chief Information Officer

As a purpose based executive search firm, Y Scouts helps companies search for a chief information officer who shares their passion. But how can you tell when to hire a CIO for your organization?

Deciding when to hire a CIO is not an easy task. Many companies hire a CIO from the start. Others do not acquire a chief information officer until their business is already established. If you are unsure when to hire a CIO for your company, here are several indicators that show you when and how to hire a CIO.

What is a CIO?: When & How to Hire a CIO

When to Hire a CIO

1. You need someone to lead your technology staff
As your company grows, your technology staff will have more responsibilities. As the team’s responsibilities grow, it may be more difficult for all staff members to agree on business practices. Similarly, a larger staff may start to feel like their concerns are going unheard. Hiring a CIO can alleviate both of these issues.

A CIO represents your internal technology staff within your company’s top leadership, giving the staff a representative who can voice their comments and concerns. A chief information officer can also make important decisions on behalf of the technology team and the company’s highest leaders. By connecting your technology staff to your company’s leaders, a CIO can help build positive relationships in your organization.

2. Your technology needs an upgrade
A CIO is in charge of maintaining technology within your company. As technological innovation occurs, your company’s current practices will become outdated if they aren’t upgraded. If you’re in the process of upgrading your technology to the most current model, hiring a chief information officer can make the transition period easier for everyone in your company.

3. Your company relies on the technology staff
Many businesses rely on cutting-edge technology in order to succeed. If technology is vital to your company, consider hiring a CIO to make sure everything is running smoothly. Their expertise can prevent your company from running into a problem if new technology is not implemented properly.

Even if your company does not produce new technology, hiring a chief information officer can help your business avoid a technology-related catastrophe. Many of a company’s assets – including their internal records, their website, or their customer data – rely on technology. A CIO can make sure this information is stored safely.

4. Your company is expanding
If your company is branching out to an additional location, hiring a CIO can help create consistency. A CIO can ensure that the technology available at each one of your offices is updated, efficient, and effective. They can also help ensure that the quality of equipment is equal across branches.

How to Hire a CIO

1. Hire an Executive Search Firm
If you’re unsure how to hire a CIO, consider utilizing an executive search firm. An executive search firm has experience finding and interviewing suitable candidates for a chief information officer position, and they may already know some people suited for your company. Their expertise can alleviate some of your stress in the search process, allowing you to spend more time focusing on your company and less time focusing on the search.

2. Search within your current staff
If you need someone to lead your technology team, there may be a suitable candidate already employed at your company. Review the credentials of your current employees and determine if anyone meets the position’s qualifications. By hiring from within your own company, you have assurance that your new CIO will fit into the company and work well with your current staff.

3. Network online and offline
If you prefer to conduct the search process yourself and want to bring a new employee into the company, networking is a great way to find suitable CIO candidates. Talk to your professional contacts and mention that you are searching for a chief information officer. Someone you know may be interested in the position, or they may be able to connect you to a potential candidate.

If your personal business contacts do not lead to a promising hire, consider networking online. Sites such as LinkedIn are a great way to review a person’s work history, see their qualifications, and make a connection.

4. Conduct multiple interviews
When you’re hiring for an important position such as chief information officer, it’s important to conduct thorough interviews. Don’t rush the search process; take time to understand every candidate and decide whether or not he or she would be a good fit as your CIO. By thoroughly vetting each candidate, you have a better chance of finding the best chief information officer for your company.

When conducting interviews, make sure that all of your interview questions have a purpose. Once you’ve decided what to look for in a CIO, come up with interview questions that directly address the qualities and skills you find most desirable.

5. Talk to references
Be sure to contact a candidate’s references, if provided. A candidate’s references can give you honest feedback about a person’s work habits, contributions, and career history that the candidate cannot provide during the interview process. Calling references is a good way to determine whether or not a candidate’s working style will fit in with your company’s culture.

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

How did you decide when to hire 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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What is a CIO

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