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Guide: How to prepare for a CIO job interview

Tina Nunno | June 24, 2016
Leadership, technology, strategy, finance and operations - here are 49 tough interview questions for CIOs

These questions focus on the CIO candidate's experience and ability to set long-term goals, while managing the complex task of gaining cooperation to actually accomplish those goals.

 

  • What would you do in the first 90 days?
  • Describe your own app­roach to governance­ and how you would determine the best framework for our organisation.
  • Provide an example of when you ­explained and sold the concept of IT architecture and standards to business leaders.
  • How do you gain agreement and co­operation from a diverse set of stake­holders? Provide an example of when you did this successfully.
  • How do you deal with stakeholders who want to break away from a shared service or a standardised or centralised process?
  • How do you decide what to outsource and what to keep in house?
  • Provide an example of when you identified an opportunity to be innovative. How did you find the opportunity and what was the outcome?
  • Provide an example of when you drove top-line growth or delivered competitive advantage to the enterprise. How did you do it?
  • Provide an example of what you did when there was more demand for IT than resources to fulfil the requests.

CIO interview questions - Technical expertise

These questions focus on determining how the candidate thinks about technology from a value perspective and applies it to solve business problems.

The questions can help an interviewer determine how a candidate stays current on technology issues and opportunities in the ever-changing technology marketplace. They also can help interviewers assess a candidate's ability to communicate about IT in business terms, and in a business context.

 

  • Provide an example of when you convinced senior leadership to make a major technology investment.
  • What is the most difficult technology-related investment decision you had to make? Why was it difficult and what was the outcome?
  • How do you stay current on technology trends and innovations?
  • Give an example of when you implemented a new or emerging technology. How did you manage the risks?
  • What are the top two or three ways that you and we can measure the value of the IT function? How do you influence each of these in the short term and longer term?
  • Do you set the technical direction, or does someone else? What process do you use to set the technical direction?
  • How reliant are you on technical advisors and how do you manage exposure?
  • What are the most important skills to have in the IT department? How did you go about hiring IT workers or developing those skills in your team?

CIO interview questions - Financial management

All executives must display sound financial management and invest limited resources strategically.

This question set focuses on the CIO candidate's ability to view the IT budget as a portfolio of assets, and to manage it in a manner consistent with the risk profile and strategic approach of the interviewing organisation.

 

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