When it comes to hiring staff for his technology department, Joseph Seibert has a soft spot for candidates who are underdogs. He admires IT professionals who've charged ahead in their careers despite starting at a disadvantage.
In the past, Seibert has grown so excited about an underdog's personality that he says he has made the mistake of advancing a candidate through the interview process who had a great story but who was not right for the job. Seibert, now senior vice president and CIO of The New York Times Company, says the lesson he's learned from that mistake is to know himself: to be aware of his tendency to get excited and to keep his excitement in check so that it doesn't undermine his effort to hire the best person for the job. It's practiced advice that all hiring managers can benefit from.
Job seekers can benefit from Seibert's advice, too. In this latest Hiring Manager interview, Seibert describes the mistakes IT professionals make on their résumés and during job interviews that kill their chances of wooing employers. He spoke with CIO.com about his hiring practices and how the transformation of the media industry is affecting IT staffing at The New York Times Company.
Sarah Mitchell: How are the challenges facing the news industry affecting your hiring?
Joseph Seibert: The news industry is transforming. Traditional print and media organisations have to become multi-channel distributors of news and information, including digital channels, such as websites, blogs, iPhones, cell phones and BlackBerries. I was hired to transform the technology organisation so that it has the right structure, skills and capabilities to support multi-channel distribution.
[ For more information on The New York Times' response to shifts in the media industry, see Rapid Prototyping Provides Innovation that Fits at The New York Times. ]
The technology organisation is extremely important to this overall transformation, and it is very important that I get the right structure and the right people within that structure who understand multi-channel distribution, digital technology and traditional technologies. I need leaders who have worked in some type of media, including a pretty sizable digital environment, and who can work amidst transformation and uncertainty. They must know how to build the infrastructure that provides speed-to-market, flexibility, and that supports those many channels efficiently and effectively.
What organisational changes have you made to the technology department since you joined The New York Times Company last year?
When I arrived I did an assessment of the technology organisation, then developed a plan to reorganise it. We are moving toward a federated model where there is a shared services group at the corporate level for infrastructure, shared applications and strategic services. We support the shared services organisation with local groups, primarily applications-focused teams within each brand. I'm in the process of recruiting a new leader for the infrastructure team, and I'm reorganising the entire security team and hiring new leaders there. I have consolidated and eliminated some positions to narrow the leadership within The New York Times newspaper itself, but the department has stayed at around 800 total employees. I continue developing the organisation at a pace that makes sense; you can only change an organisation structure and the people in it so quickly.