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  • Julian Rives

Case Study: Patience is a Virtue When Finding The Right Leadership

Earlier this year, Chapel Hill Solutions worked with a client on a Chief Information Officer (CIO) search. The client was a 344 bed, non-profit hospital located in central Alabama. With over 2,200 full-time employees and a total patient revenue of over $1.2 billion - this hospital needed to upgrade its leadership in data security, privacy, and information systems.


Initially, the client had reached out to a few candidates through their own internal networks without the guidance and expertise of working with an executive search firm such as Chapel Hill Solutions. This created several problems including:

  • Candidates did not trust the internal hiring process and did not respond to inquiries when directly approached

  • The wrong type of candidates were pursued for the role

  • The process was mismanaged by an internal team that did not have the experience hiring senior level executives.

Luckily, our client came to this conclusion early in their attempts to do this search themselves and engaged and retained Chapel Hill Solutions to support, execute and run the search. We were approached by the CEO and COO of the hospital to help them find a new VP of IT. However, as we dove deeper into further discussions with this particular client about the future for the organization, the role, their leadership needs and talent gaps within the IT Department - it quickly became clear that their VP level search needed to be for a C-suite level executive and we moved forward with searching for a new Chief Information Officer.


To start we began with the basic research criteria of what skills, qualifications and background experience the ideal candidate needed to have. We then used this “benchmark profile” as the gold standard for which all potential candidates would be measured and assessed against. Using this as our guide for researching and finding the ideal candidate, we were able to produce and deliver a long list of 145 total screened candidates to the CEO and COO within the first 6 weeks of the search that were a match to the benchmark profile. From there we consulted and advised our client to further refine these 5 candidates to compile a short list of roughly the top ten candidates.





The Challenge


One of the largest challenges of this search which also served as a benefit to us, was time. The search took 10 weeks to complete from start to finish and our timeline was largely dependent on both candidate and client feedback response times. For this search, the client was slow to move the process along, but this helped us to identify the leading and genuinely interested talent in the long run. On the shortlist we had several candidates that we were evaluating for the role. Since the client was taking their time in the process, we were able to identify which candidates were not as engaged or seriously considering the role. We were able to use the time to our advantage and let those candidates actively seeking a new job remove themselves from the process by accepting other opportunities and offers. In the long run, we ended up with a shortlist of passive candidates that were a fantastic fit for the role and the company and were seriously interested in the CIO opportunity and remained patient with us and the client throughout the search process.


Through careful evaluation and several rounds of additional interviews by Chapel Hill Solutions and client stakeholders - we were able to present 2 finalist candidates to choose between. Ultimately, the candidate that was made an offer and selected was chosen based upon their compatibility with the wider senior executive team and fit within the organizational culture. Both finalist candidates had all of the right qualifications and experience - however it simply came down to the right cultural fit and personality that better aligned with the organization and the team



The Results


The candidate that we placed earlier this year is still in their role as CIO at the hospital and happy in their position and the team they work with. As a result of successfully completing this CIO search, the hospital CEO and COO saw the value in working with Chapel Hill Solutions serving as an advisory voice that helped guide and run the entire process seamlessly. Chapel Hill Solutions was engaged by the hospital to perform 8 more additional searches for various roles across the organization.







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