Chief Information Officer (CIO) Job Positions: Responsibilities and Recruiter Expectations

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The CIO/CTO Role

CIO or CTO (Chief Technology Officer) jobs have expanded in the last two decades as information management has shifted from the periphery of company operations to a central strategic function. Once a role consisting of mostly data processing, CIOs and CTOs are now responsible for general knowledge management, moving their focus from technical planning and implementation to strategic planning. In order to ensure seamless delivery and support for the company's business strategy, today's CIOs/CTOs incorporate a holistic approach to the IT (Information Technology) environment. In addition to the traditional CIO job/CTO job responsibilities, the CIO/CTO also manages business process streamlining and restructuring; negotiates smart outsourcing agreements; and finds innovative ways for IT to advance the company's business objectives. Sometimes, the CTO job title may signify a more traditional technology focus.


What Capabilities Hiring Organizations and Executive Search Firms Look for in a CIO or CTO

Executive search consultants seek CIOs that are technically adept, eager to learn and are globally aware. Those who want to make an impression on executive recruiters and CIO headhunters must have solid business knowledge, strong leadership traits, effective communication skills and excellent human development capabilities. Aspiring CTOs and CIOs must understand regulatory and compliance issues; business cycles; and the investment climate. Additionally, those seeking placement in CIO positions or CTO positions must be skilled in financial planning, budgeting and reporting; have the ability to link investment to delivery; and have experience in supplier management.

“Tech leaders, CTOs, they’re increasingly required to be commercial and customer-oriented, more so than ever before, which you know, can be a challenge because not all tech leaders are necessarily orientated that way,” commented one executive search consultant headquartered in Australia. “They’ve gone from being back-office functions to needing to be right at the front of conversations, and so by definition that has changed the nature of the CTO. There is no doubt about the type of CTO that we look for now. It’s moved away from technicians to commercially savvy business-focused. You can only imagine that as that evolves further, it may not be beyond the realms of possibility that those are the kind of skills that ultimately CTOs would develop and take forward into potential CEO roles. Some say the CTO is the CEO of the future.”


Potential CIOs must have experience in managing relationships across an enterprise and outside of the organization with resources they do not own, as well as experience leading and managing teams and marshaling resources. An executive recruiter or headhunter will seek senior executives with architecture, infrastructure and applications experience, as well as those whose experience in IT executive jobs has demonstrated a proper balance of technical landscaping, a pragmatic view and an innate understanding of general business. Recently, an increasing number of CIO and CTO jobs have required global experience.

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