A company founder explains how he went about finding the model CIO.
Two years ago Los Angeles database marketer Lexi International was growing fast enough to be ranked #329 on the Inc. 500. "We required a very complex multimillion-dollar telemarketing system and couldn't afford to hire the wrong person to handle it," says founder Robin D. Richards. The headhunters he contacted lacked the expertise to help him find someone, however, and when Richards read applicants' rÈsumÈs, his eyes glazed over from the technical jargon.
"I'm a marketing finance guy; I don't know technology," he concedes. When he saw three people on the cover of CIO magazine, he thought, "I need someone like this." It dawned on him that reading magazines would be a great way to prospect without spending hours checking applicants' qualifications or paying headhunters. After an hour scanning the covers of the 45 computer magazines he receives, he found an article in an IBM magazine about Terrence Knecht, who had built a system similar to Lexi's. Richards thought, "This is the kind of person I need!" Over the next month Richards contacted six story subjects before he offered the position of chief information officer to Knecht. Knecht accepted and oversaw the integration of the new system without a hitch.
Not surprisingly, Richards is enthusiastic about his novel technique, which he is now using to fill another position. "It's probably the greatest recruitment tool on earth for a principal," he says. "It's also about the cheapest."