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Spotting Great HCIT Talent...

May 18, 2008
by Tim Tolan
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In my healthcare IT executive search firm, we spend most of our time talking with candidates and clients about job opportunities and search assignments. When we look out at the HCIT marketplace - the talent pool is huge and diverse. We talk with CIO's candidates that are leading the IT efforts in a hospital setting, while others have moved on to the vendor side of the table. From a 100 bed rural setting to a large vertically integrated enterprise. If you are good at what you do, it doesn’t matter where you've been. What really matters is who you are now - and where you are going.

As a search professional, we look at many factors when considering a candidate for a search assignment. Let’s look at some of the key elements in our candidate profiling (not in any particular order).

Is the candidate stable and do they have a solid track record? It's very difficult to establish a solid track record if you bounce around from one job to the next. Don't get me wrong, I think it's great to have a lot of experience in multiple environments. Just not every 9-12 months.

Does the candidate have good communication skills? We can usually tell very quickly in the interviews we conduct at how well they communicate and we can somewhat gauge their confidence level. We can also begin to measure their writing and thinking skills by the answers they provide to the written questionnaire each candidate is required to complete. We also use several assessment tools based on client preference.

Can the candidate scale? By that I mean, do they have a history of succeeding in a one environment and are they able to scale in both job scope and responsibility? Some candidates are great in a smaller organization, managing a small IT shop with few people and a relatively modest budget. Put them in a large enterprise environment and they will likely drown.

Generally speaking, people usually repeat themselves. If you have a long history of success, there is a good chance you will continue to be successful in whatever you do. Unfortunately - it also works the other way. We really dig to find success metrics for each candidate we profile. What have they accomplished in their career – and in their current role? Have they “moved the needle”? Where? How? What was the organizational impact?

Finally, we always try to determine the best culture for each candidate. In many cases matching culture is 40% - 50% in finding the right match. Sure, there are economics and references and much more that goes into placing the perfect candidate into the perfect job! I get that! That comes after we complete our profiling. If we have done our job, and the candidate checks out – everything else usually works out very well!

If you are ready to “test the water” and feel like you have all (or most) the requirements noted above, someone will take notice!! Trust me!