Onboarding and pre-employment screening are two primary components of the hiring. They could be called the quintessential Yin and Yang of the hiring process. These two processes increase the efficiency of the Human Resources significantly. New York-based Cisive is a leading company with its core-competency being onboarding and pre-employment background screening, which offers its clients with a streamlined, high quality, and regulatory compliant solution.
Cisive has comprehensive services including background screening, vendor/contractor screening, executive screening, drug testing, fingerprinting, paperless onboarding and electronic Form I-9/E-Verify solutions. It is the premier service provider in the space. We got in touch with Cisive’s CIO, Alan Gordon, who is one of the most respected CIOs around. In a brief interview, he talked to us the essential qualities a CIO must possess. Read on for the excerpts from the interview.
What three main qualities have shaped you as a successful CIO?
In order to be a successful CIO, I have to first and foremost be a successful leader. And for anyone to be a successful leader, I think empathy is the most important quality. Empathy provides one with the ability to put oneself in others’ shoes, and, as a result, you gain a lot of insight into what people care about, what motivates them, and how they are feeling. When you truly understand how others are feeling and making decisions, then understanding the potential outcomes of those decisions are far easier. In addition to that, my success as a CIO is also attributable to being an innovator. Innovation is particularly important at Cisive because we are at our heart, a technology company. When IT innovates, all of Cisive succeeds, and not just from the direct effects of the innovation. When you innovate as a CIO, you motivate others to innovate, which in turn also helps create and foster a culture of innovation that attracts talent. Finally, being a good communicator is an important quality for any executive. One of the most difficult aspects for technologists at any level to understand is that others in the organization do not always understand technology and technical jargon. Being able to bridge the gap between the technical and the non-technical in all communication is critically important for any CIO.
The CIO is considered as the organizational glue for driving change. What is your say on this?
I believe this is 100% true. Business and IT are inextricably linked and if change isn’t being driven by IT, some aspect of the business change is almost certainly affected by or causes a technical change that is managed by the CIO and his/her department. A good CIO will make sure that their IT department is viewed as the department of innovation, and innovation involves change in every way.
How do you define success for the new CIO in the first 12 months and the first 5 years?
This varies highly based on the current state of the organization and the organizational goals. That said, I would emphasize that the best thing you can do in the first 12 months is to deliver on some quick wins. The importance of first impressions cannot be overstated and delivering on those as early as possible is one of the best ways to make a good first impression.
In most organizations, there are plenty of initiatives that would yield a return and are tied to relatively low (<12 months) duration. Seize on these first. In addition to aligning with your peers, this will also help cement and foster respect from the entire department as the congratulations and kudos rain down on not just you, but also on the people who executed it.
Early on in that 12-month period, it is important to also begin work on a strategic 5-year plan. Creating this plan necessarily includes the business and this is why getting to know the business is your first mission.
Cisive fuses technology and human insight into clear and actionable intelligence for any HR leader, how beneficial is it to your customers?
This strikes at the very heart of what we do at Cisive. Our AI-enabled, tech driven platform combines elements of what the machines do best (speed and consistency) with what humans do best (creativity and insight).
The information we provide to HR as part of the onboarding process, mainly in the form of a thorough background on the prospective employee, clearly has a lot of value. In addition to that, though, once hired, employees are typically not re-checked during their tenure, leaving employers open to an insider threat risk which is why Cisive offers a unique, one of a kind solution for the continuous monitoring of employees, delivering both industry-leading 24/7 Real-Time Crime Alerts and the most accurate, compliant background screening solution.
Where do you envision the company in the upcoming years?
Cisive is at the forefront of a revolution in our industry. As our most recently completed products like Discover Plus, Cisive Exchange, and SafeCarrier suggest, data and technology products are becoming increasingly more central to the hiring process, both in background investigations as well as with more general HR solutions. Cisive has always been a nimble company, the most recent evidence of that came with the creation of our COVID-19 response products like SAFE-19, ACCESS-19, and CONTACT-19.
In the forthcoming years, Cisive’s track record of leading the innovation in our industry will be on full display as we work on some of the most compelling concepts in background screening and recruiting.
Alan Gordon, Chief Information Officer
Alan has over 27 years of information technology experience, including: web-based system development; enterprise architecture (both .NET and J2EE); project management; and complex system integration. He has been with Cisive for 18 years, by way of acquisition.
Prior to joining Cisive, Alan launched and later sold a technology firm that specialized in creating software in the HR field where he pioneered paper-less office systems with e-signature technology. He was also a senior consultant at a boutique NYC consulting firm with a specialization in the architectural, construction, and engineering industries. At this firm, he worked on several large-scale systems, including the management software for a multibillion-dollar construction project for New York’s Department of Environmental Protection.
“When you innovate as a CIO, you motivate others to innovate, which in turn also helps create and foster a culture of innovation that attracts talent.”
“In the forthcoming years, Cisive’s track record of leading the innovation in our industry will be on full display as we work on some of the most compelling concepts in background screening and recruiting.”