Sometimes being part of a minority gender in IT is really beneficial. There’s always plenty of people wanting to talk to you at conferences (and never a queue for the toilets!) and it can be quite nice being a novelty. Also, on just about every business trip I go on, I’m reminded of the fact that when people see me, they don’t expect me to be in IT, let alone have a senior position. Today, I had to laugh as a couple of businessmen on the table next to me gave me a lot of detail about their company confidential research that is directly useful to what I’m doing.
I’ve been with my current company for 9 months as Chief Information Officer and had responsibility for everything technical from production systems down to ensuring the phone systems worked and everything in between. The only technical responsibilities not under me was the actual development and QA of our products. CIO is a thankless role – when everything is going right, questions are raised over the size of the team and the need to replace servers and budget for new projects. When something breaks, for whatever reason, you are the focus of the negativity until it is resolved. The past 9 months have been a rollercoaster of business needs, including many sleepless nights. However, I can look back on this knowing that when I do finally get around to writing about my experiences as a woman in IT I will have a lot of fun stories for the CIO chapter1. While I didn’t have the opportunity to finish off as many of the improvement projects as I would have liked, I’ve built up a fantastic team and know that they’ll continue to do a fantastic job going forward.
I’m currently building a team for my new secret project and far more of my time than I’d like is spent with the recruitment process. However, every minute of that time is essential and we’re at a point where none of it can be handed off to an agency even if I wanted to1. So getting the recruitment process right is essential.
One of the basic principles of management in any industry is that if you set metrics for your team, they will adapt to maximise those results: set a minimum number of bugs to be resolved and you’ll find the easy ones get picked off, set an average number of features and you’ll find everything held together with string, set too many metrics to cover all bases and you’ll end up with none of them hit and a demoralised (or non-existent) team2. The same is true of recruitment – you will end up hiring people who pass whatever recruitment tasks you set, not necessarily the type of person the company needs. While this may appear obvious, think back to the last interview you were at, either as the interviewer or interviewee – how much relation did the process really have to the role?
When I started recruiting for my new team, I knew I had neither the time nor resources to make mistakes. I had to get this right first time. Continue reading From the interviewer’s side of the table