RECRUITING EXCELLENCE: Interview Questions About Change Leadership
Change Leadership is one of the skills that CIOs most often require in their direct reports. But after a few rounds of interviews, how can you be sure you are hiring a change leader? Recently, we asked readers of The Heller Report to submit the questions they use to specifically test a candidate's ability to lead change in an organization. Here is what we received back.
Thanks for these terrific questions -- feel free to comment or submit more using the Comments section below.
I often ask questions about big items I researched myself before the interview about the company the candidate comes from. Some thing like,
"I was reading recently about the change in direction that it appears your company is undergoing, How did the announcement play internally? and How did you engage the opportunity to ensure this change was successful?"
Or another one is, "most companies facing growth challenges must change to survive, "What is the biggest change that you championed and why?"
Both questions will generate a response. If it is a deer in the headlights response, my concern level rises. I look for the candidates ability or willingness to accept or drive change, not for change sake, but as a necessary capability to evolve the team to meet the horizon goals of the organization.
- Ron Blahnik, CIO, The Hudson's Bay Company
In leading major change initiatives, what are different ways that you have overcome the natural tendency of most people to resist change?
- Robert Norris, VP, Strategic Development and CIO, Pinnacol Assurance
"Can you think of a specific time that one of your projects hit a road block? How did you react? What do you do to overcome the resistance? And what was the final outcome of the change effort?"
- Ron West
" I have 5 direct reports. You would be my 6th. What will you do that will make you my primary succession path leader?"
- Dan Galdenzi, Corporate Director & Head of IT, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont
"Tell me about one successful change effort you led and how you did it."
"Tell me about one time when you encountered people that were resistant to change and how you handled them."
- Peter S. DeLisi, President, Organizational Synergies
“Have you ever had to implement Significant Change in something where you did not have any support up front and your only tool was to Sell/Evangelize the Change? How did you approach the situation? Where you successful? What did you Learn as a result?”
- Michael Kohlman, Information Systems Manager, Cook Group Incorporated
“If you were the CIO at your current employer, what would you have done different and why?” Their answer helps me understand whether they are a big transformation thinker or someone focused on smaller tactical issues. Do they view themselves as a change agent or a victim of change? There are people who respond that they would have done something but the organization kept them down. I am looking for someone who figures out how to change the culture to drive change.
- James Sistek, CIO, Visteon Corp. (read the full Jim Sistek interview with Martha Heller)