The CMIO Quick Start Guide is a series of posts on the role of Chief Medical Information Officer (CMIO). The number of health care organizations adding a CMIO to their staff is growing exponentially. However, even though the benefits of a CMIO are plentiful they won’t make all your problems disappear. This series will discuss what a CMIO is, whether your organization needs one, how to hire the best one, and how to create the best environment for your mutual success. Stay tuned for a new post every Tuesday.
Where do you find CMIO talent? Better yet, how do you get them to come to you? Once they’re here, how do you figure out if they “fit”? And finally if they do fit, how can you make sure they accept your offer and not your competitors? In this post we’ll answer these questions and devise a strategy for you to bring a CMIO successfully on to your team.
In our last post, we discussed why (or why not) you would want to hire a CMIO. Since you already have the “why” covered, we’re going to go a little more into the “how”.
Creating the Best CMIO Position Description
There are some basic rules for something as seemingly simple as a position description. This is the first interaction your candidate and future CMIO will have with your organization, so make it clear, reasonable, and unique.
Rule #1: Don’t let HR write the position description.
Sorry HR, but sometimes you can add a lot of unnecessary fluff to a position description (PD). Instead of delegating this to HR, make those who will be working with the candidate write the PD. This way it will be more up-to-date with the necessary skills, technologies, and approaches the candidate will need and use in the position.
Rule #2: Make the Position Description Reasonable
A candidate’s first impression on the organization and position is typically formed upon the first read of the position description. Are their expectations reasonable? Super far-off? Exceptional candidates may throw up a red-flag if they see some of these responsibilities or requirements:
- Are you looking for 10 years of experience in an application or field that has only been around for five?
- Are you looking for someone who has “expertise” in almost every aspect of a technical subject when becoming an expert in that subject can take a whole career?
- Are you looking for a highly-experienced highly-qualified CMIO but only able to offer 100K for the position? This may be reasonable if you’re in a desirable area and have a unique opportunity for the candidate – but you probably don’t so don’t make this mistake.
Rule #3: Determine What’s Exciting or Challenging About this Position
The best candidates have honed their skills over their career and want to put these skills to good use. They don’t want a bore of a position. This is where your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) we discussed in the previous post comes in to play. Don’t be afraid to play this up in the position description.
Rule #4: Look at What Other Organizations are Looking For
Your candidates will be looking at other organization’s CMIO positions, so why wouldn’t you do the same thing? You’ll get a good idea of who is hiring, for how much, what they’re looking for, and how they position themselves to get the best candidates. Do better then them.
Once you have your PD approved and posted on the websites for clinical informaticist positions, the resumes and CVs of candidates will start rolling in. Now what?
Screening for the In-Person Interview
If you understand why you’re hiring this position and your position description was clear, then screening out those who do not fit should be a piece of cake.
Assuming you’re screening them via phone or video conference, decide who they’re going to talk to besides HR. If you need a strategic thinker, have them talk to another C-level executive. If they’re going to need to lead some crazy integration project, have them talk to your most talented technical person. Why this method? Those with great skills in these areas may be able to pick up “off” clues that an HR manager may not. If a technical interviewer jokes about binary trees and the candidate doesn’t quite get it…they might not be the best to lead a new software development project.
If you’re screening a lot of candidates on the phone, then you’ll want a way to weed out the best ones. How can you do this? Ask them all the same tough, but relative question. You can even relate it to the future position. For example, “our organization is having xxx problem, what would be the first steps you would take in solving it?” This way you can see their thought process and their problem solving approach.
If they seem to be a good fit, tell them why you think they would be good at the position. Everyone loves a little flattery. But be honest and open if there are significant challenges in the position. Sugarcoating a position will only make things worse if the candidate finds the reality of the position is not as promised.
Once you have your top candidates picked out, its time to get on with the in-person interview.
The In-Person Interview
At Google, they hire for the following four qualities:
- Role-related knowledge
- How you think
They make their decision based on feedback from many interviewers. If you leave the final decision up to one person, that person may not be the best decision maker. Remember that “C” level managers do not hire “A” level performers.
Since Google’s approach doesn’t seem broken, we’re not going to fix it. To personalize the approach for the CMIO role, we would add the following:
- The candidate must meet with the CIO. They’ll be working closely together and must be able to feed off of one another.
- The candidate must meet with the CEO or another executive team member to understand the strategic direction of the organization.
- The candidate should have the ability to make any of their requirements or conditions known.
- The interviewers should ask a combination of scenario based and behavioral based interview questions. Scenario based questions will display how they think on their feet and their approach to problem solving. Behavioral based questions will display how they handled situations in past position. A serious misaslignment between the two approaches could signal trouble.
- The candidate must meet with their possible team. If your team is mediocre, your managers are mediocre, and your resources are mediocre, then expect to hire a mediocre candidate.
Once all the interviewers and the team has had a chance to meet all the candidates, the group must come to a decision. Who has the best leadership qualities, applicable skillsets, problem-solving abilities, and organizational fit?
Extending the Offer
Chances are that your candidate has more than one offer on the table by the time they receive yours. So…
Don’t wait too long.
Don’t flounder in negotiations.
Don’t lowball the candidate.
Enjoy your new CMIO.