The Rejected CIO

rejectedAs I look for a new role that is suitable to my experience and background, I often get rejection letters. At first I would delete them but I decided to keep them and periodically review them. Not that I am angry over being rejected. Contrary, rejection letters just make me have thicker skin.

Getting a rejection letter is better then the black hole of no response.

Here are a few of my rejection letters. (Names have been deleted.)

You were impressive but not impressive enough—

Dear Arun Manansingh,

Thank you for taking the time to send your resume and cover letter for consideration for our position for Manager, IT at xxx.  We received many applications and while your qualifications and experience are impressive, there were candidates who more closely matched our needs.

We appreciate your interest in the xxx.  We will maintain your resume on file and suggest that you check our career site and apply for job postings that you are passionate about and for which you qualify.

We would also like to invite you to remain informed about the work that xxx is doing.  The best ways to do that are on our website, or other social media detailed below for example, Facebook and Twitter.

Again, thank you for applying. We wish you all the best.


Again you were impressive but we want to continue looking —

Dear Arun,

Thank you for the interest you have expressed in employment with xxx IT for the position of Sr Director IT Service Management.  Although your experience is impressive, our hiring team has decided to continue the search. 

At this time, your resume will be retained for at least one year in our database.  You will be contacted in the event our employment needs should change. We also encourage you to visit our website as new positions become available.

We appreciate your interest in our company and wish you success in your search.


We thought you were a match but now you are not—

Dear Arun,

Thank you for submitting your resume for our Chief Information Officer position, and for your interest in our firm.

Your qualifications have been reviewed, and although they are impressive, we do not feel that they are a match for our current opportunity.

We are sure your credentials and abilities will lead to other excellent opportunities, and we wish you every success in your career.


Don’t call us we will call you—

Hi Arun,

Thank you for your interest in the VP, Technology & Operations role for xxx. We have received your information and if there is interest in moving forward with your candidacy we will be reaching out to you in the next few weeks.

Thank you for your patience in our reply, as we had many applications for this impactful opening on our team.


You didn’t get the job. Here is who did—

Hi ARUN,

Thank you for your application for the position of Chief Information Officer for the xxx.  Interviews for the position were held in early March.

Xxx officials have appointed Ms. xxx as their next Chief Information Officer.  Ms. xxx has most recently served as a Manager of IT Infrastructure and Operations.  Prior to that, she worked in the IT field as a Director for more than 12 years.  Ms. xxx has a Master’s degree in Communication System Strategy & Management and a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics. 

Although you were not selected for this position, the xxx and GovHR xxx want to thank you for your interest and effort in competing for this position.  We extend our best wishes for continued success in your professional endeavors.

Please feel free to stay in touch with our office regarding professional opportunities in the future.


You were not qualified—

Arun,

Thank you for your application for the CTO/SVP, Architecture, Engineering & Technology search we are doing at xxx.   After reviewing your background, we have concluded that there are other candidates better qualified for this role.  That said, thank you for your time in contacting us. 

With regards,


There were too many qualified CIOs —

Arun:

Thank you for your interest and for taking the time to speak with us about the CIO role at xxx.  We were impressed with your experience, but you were one of many qualified candidates whom we considered for this position.  Therefore, we will not be proceeding with your candidacy for this role at this time.

We wish you the best of luck in your future career, and thank you again for considering an opportunity with xxx.


Not holding my breadth —

Dear Arun,

We received your application for employment with xxx for the position below.

Job Title: Chief Information Officer

Department: Finance and Administration

 Thank you for your interest in our University.  The screening and selection

process is currently underway and will continue until a candidate is chosen. If

a decision is made to pursue your candidacy, you will be contacted by the hiring

manager.

 Sincerely,

Human Resources


The role has been frozen for now— 

Dear Arun,

Thank you for your application for the position as CIO, xxx Group.

 After careful consideration and with respect for current business priorities, we have decided to continue our interim IT Management solution throughout Q4 2013. Consequently the recruitment process for the CIO position has been postponed. We acknowledge and respect the energy you have put into your candidacy and apologize for any inconvenience in this regard. As the recruitment process may continue in a few months’ time, we kindly ask you to let us know, if you wish to sustain your candidacy for the CIO position. If so, please reply to this email no later than October 1, 2013.

Once again we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

 Best regards,

Human Resources, Zacco Group

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Innovation Teamwork and Lego

Leadership and TeamworkI saw this commercial on TV and thought it was well done.  It speaks volumes about innovation and teamwork. I have been a Lego builder since I was 5. I felt that as toy it has the ability to be so much more and this commercial says that.

Coping

I am starting to hear better news about the job market loosing up a bit for executives. In fact, in recent days I have been getting calls from recruiters. So there seems to be movement forward.

One of the discussions that I have not written about is related to coping with being out-of-work. I started a recent dialogue with another CIO on the west coast who is also out-of-work. The topic of depression came up. I wondered for a period if I were depressed. My wife asked me constantly and I started to doubt myself. Was I really depressed? I did some inner reflection and I discovered that I really was not.

I was just bored. I spent over 11 years in the corporate world. Politics, stress, pressure, long hours gave me purpose. Without it, I now felt empty and wanted to get back into the corporate goo. I am a workaholic by nature and I needed that constant drive towards something to keep me going. You might say, why not take up a hobby to occupy yourself? Well I have. Golf, gardening, blogging, and home improvement projects, have filled my time and kept me busy. However, being busy is no substitute for steady work. The days become tedious and you are constantly trying to fill your schedule with tasks. Besides there is only so much golf you can play or roses you can prune before even that becomes boring.

There is nothing I can do about the job situation except keep doing what I am doing. I hope that will change soon. In the meantime, I am using this time to enjoy my family, do some volunteer work, exercise and enjoy myself. At least by keeping busy I am keeping my mind active and thinking. I know that when I do go back to work I will be putting in long hours. Therefore, I am treating this time preciously.

Qualify Your Professional Network

There was a recent discussion on LinkedIn regarding tight versus broad networks (LinkedIn Strategies – Tight vs Broad Network). Is it more effective in a  job search to build a network of close connections or instead, build a network with a broad reach, but weak connections?

This is an interesting discussion. Recently I have been trying to qualify my network. I have been building my network for a little over a year now. At first, I thought it should be a numbers game. How many people can I connect with? I immediately saw diminishing returns.

To put things in perspective, I currently have:

  • 277 contacts on LinkedIn.
  • 180 following/156 followers on Twitter.
  • 20 people actively following my blog daily and commenting
  • 150 non-family contacts in my contact database

Of all the above contacts I consider maybe 10 contacts can help me find a new position or are people that remain in touch with me. What does this mean? Have I failed in networking? Should I have a tighter network or a better network? These are questions I ask myself everyday.

Here is what I do know.

  • Maintaining a network takes time and effort on your part.
  • If you are seeing no responses from your network then you should not put the effort in networking with that person. I know this seems harsh. But lets face facts, if you email and call someone and they do not respond then it is clear they are not interested in maintaining a link with you.
  • Move on and find others that will return your emails and telephone calls. Even if they do not have a position, they are just checking in with you to maintain a link.
  • Maintain a network that brings value to you.

I have started to be more discriminating in whom I add to LinkedIn and follow on Twitter. I want to have contacts that I can help and that can help me both in the short and long-term. It is not a numbers game anymore for me. It is about quality relationships with people.

What do you think about maintaining a network? What are your thoughts on how to maintain a network?

Only Apply If You Are Employed?

There was an interesting article in the WSJ, Only the Employed Need Apply, by Dana Mattioli. In this article Dana writes that some companies are bypassing unemployed workers and trying to hire only employed workers. “If they’re employed in today’s economy, they have to be first string” says Ryan Ross, a partner with Kaye/Bassman International Corp., an executive recruiting firm in Dallas

These are unusual times. The unemployment rate is at 9.4% and ticking up every month. Firms are still cutting staff. It is unfair for firms to think that just because a person is unemployed, they are not as good as those who are employed. The fact of the matter is there are good and bad people who are unemployed. In today’s economy there are probably a higher percentage of good out-of-work people who got laid off. I know several people (me being one) who got laid off through no fault of our own. These people were former traders, salespeople, recruiters, COOs, and IT executives who were good in their jobs. Their departments or divisions were eliminated. Being unemployed does not make them or me bad people. It just makes us available to take on new challenges and bring our experience and expertise to a company that understands our value.

Turning a Corner? A CIO’s Job Search

For those of you that read my blog regularly know that I have been out of work since September. I have been looking but there have been very few opportunities since the October financial meltdown. In fact, it has been dead. I liken it to being in sailboat with no wind-aimlessly drifting in a void.

That is until this week. There have been at least a dozen job postings for senior level IT people in the New York area. What has happened in the last few weeks? Is the economy turning a corner? Are firms beginning to hire? Who knows?

I got two interesting phone calls this week. One was from a recruiter, “Hello. I have a client that is looking to expand IT operations into the northeast. What do they need to accomplish this task?” Now you must be chuckling to yourself. Is this recruiter serious? Before I could even begin to answer this question, I had to ask for more details. Any good executive would. Of course, the recruiter could not provide much in the way of any useful details. In fact, I gave her a list of questions to ask her client. I said before you begin calling executives you should have a clearer understanding of what exactly the client is trying to accomplish. The talent pool in the NYC arena is large but you have to know what to ask. If not you would embarrass yourself and your client.

The second phone call was from a HR person. We all know HR people are more clueless than anyone on the face of the planet. So any HR person that calls me I am always weary. This was no exception. “We have a small IT shop and we had to let some people go, which caused service levels to deteriorate and now business is suffering and we need to bring service levels back up to acceptable standards. Where should we focus our efforts?”

I asked both the recruiter and HR person that if their client/company wants help to answer these questions and help guide them I am more than willing to come in even on a consultant basis to help. Of course I got the “We are just in an exploration phase and not ready to bring people in at this time” answer.

Am I disappointed? No. I am actually happy to see that the job market is starting to have a pulse. Even though it seems to be a very slight pulse it is a pulse none-the-less. Things are not totally dead and maybe things will continue to improve for everyone. So I am still keeping my fingers crossed….

Today Was Not A Good Day – But It Is Friday

I am not sure if this is good or bad. But I do feel a bit disappointed today.

I got three phone calls from three different recruiters for three different positions.

The first was for a director of infrastructure. The position came to me through an IT organization I belong to. I was a little suspect of the recruiter but decided to send my resume in. To my surprise I got a phone call immediately there after. He wanted me to “tweak” my resume, send back to him and follow up. I did and the next day I followed up. I called and emailed but no response. I was able to get him on the phone. He did not remember me or the position. I spent a few minutes explaining everything again. He said he will send my resume in a follow up with me in a fee days. It has been a few days, I called and left messages and email but no response.

I got another call from a recruiter that I had linked with this week. He said he got a position that was right for me and sent me the job description. It was great. Everything I was looking for: good location, good salary, good description that fit my background. The recruiter will follow up with me the next day. I was a little weary based on my previous experience but I wanted to not come across desperate. So I waited and to my surprise I got a phone call the next day. The message was short but I felt something was wrong. So I called back. The firm wants a “hands on” person–very hands on; Cisco engineer, windows admin, dba, dmz, CIO experience — literally a jack of all trades. The job description and my research on the firm hinted that this was a large firm. Not a good idea to have one guy doing everything. I told the recruiter that I was hands on but with the sophistication of enterprise architecture, my skill set is not at that level anymore. I am more management with an understanding of how things work in an enterprise environment. The recruiter apologized for not having all the facts about the position. He will keep me in mind for other positions.

Last, I got another call for a VP of technology. The recruiter called me and asked how me how many people did I support in my last or any position. I told him the amount and said this position required someone who had supported 500+ users. It would have been easy for me to lie but my professionalism took over. Yet another position which I was not right for. I don’t understand if you support 50 or 5000 people it is the not quantity but the quality of the support you provide.

So I did not get an interview this week but I was called 3 times from recruiters. Are things picking up? If so great, I can wait for the right position to come along.