It’s a problem I see all the time — a company wants to hire an Interim CIO and decides to take on the process themselves. More often than not, they wind up with a totally unsuitable candidate for one reason or another.
When it comes to the Interim CIO search, I always recommend working with a professional third party so that you can avoid the four most common warning signs of an unqualified Interim Executive:
1. The Alternatively Motivated
The ideal interim executive takes on a role because they’re excited about and committed to the opportunities and challenges of the company in question.
They understand the purpose of an interim role is to fill a void, accelerate growth or lend expertise, and are focused on achieving that mission until completion.
In worst case scenarios, a job seeker will take on an interim role just to stay afloat while they look for a permanent role.
“Faking” the role as an interim while seeking other opportunities shows a massive lack of respect and honesty, while also not contributing fully to the company. In some cases, the “fake” interim may even leave the company when a permanent position elsewhere becomes available.
2. The Consultant
Consultants are great for giving advice, preparing reports, conducting analysis and offering a whole host of supporting services. Typically, they are very tactically focused and know that their time with the company is temporary – neither of these are what you need in an executive.
However, a consultant is not an executive — they’ve never been in the position of responsibility when it comes to hiring, firing, making big decisions and being held responsible for them. Be wary of consultants with no executive experience, claiming to be able to do the job of an interim exec.
Consultants also do not have the commitment to the company, its mission or its growth. Interim executives are part of the team and are aligned with the others in senior leadership.
3. The Big Shot
Naturally, you want your interim executive to have a full and accomplished career, yet at the end of the day, what you don’t need is a wannabe head honcho stuck in their “glory days.”
Our interim leaders sit at the table with existing leadership to integrate into your team, listen to your challenges and learn about your opportunities. Ego aside, the interim role isn’t about self-promotion or how they look in the workplace, it’s about helping your company get to where you want to be.
4. The Status Quo-er
In many corporate scenarios, there’s a strict hierarchy executives are required to stick to. Their main focus is to keep things status quo, not rock the boat and avoid any major pitfalls — there’s no innovation, risk-taking or motivation to make any of the tough decisions. This truly stifles growth – growth of the company and of the individuals.
This is not the type of executive who’s going to transform your business and get you the results you want. A quick way to spot a “status quo-er” is one who defers to their resume, the companies they’ve worked for and positions they’ve held, rather than the results they achieved.
When it comes to our pool of Interim CIOs, we don’t work with just anybody. And, the ones we do work with are professionals we’ve known for years, with a proven background in executive roles, as well as a firm understanding of what an interim role entails.
Our extreme vetting process and commitment to working with only the best of the best, means you’re guaranteed to land an Interim CIO with the skills, drive, and passion to get your business where it needs to be.