In a wide ranging interview with John Mann on Network World, Starbucks Coffee’s new Chief Information Officer (CIO) Stephen Gillett explains that the recession hasn’t stopped hiring, but it has forced the firm to prioritize hires:
Mann: How has the economic situation affected your talent acquisition strategy?
Gillett: The pressure of the economic situation has done two things: One, it has reordered sequence. Before I had two or three key positions open in parallel. Now I have them sequenced in order of most to least business impact.
Second, it has allowed me to tune the job descriptions, talent pool and experience we are looking for. It is much better now to look for someone who has been through an economic downturn. For example, someone who worked at IBM in 1992 when Lou Gerstner came back is a good person to have right now. I do not want to see someone who has never had faced economic adversity in their career. I want someone who is going to be a pillar of strength at a time of uncertainty.
Mann: What types of positions are you currently looking to fill?
Gillett: Right now we are recruiting for various disciplines. The one that is first and foremost on my calendar is in the business intelligence category–to help Starbucks better utilize customer analytics. In times of economic distress, understanding our customers is a way to unlock future value.
The topics include Gilette’s hiring mistakes, the worst interviews he’s been in, and how job candidates can make a good impression through their resume, cover letter, and thank you letter. One piece of his advice: try to distinguish yourself. Having an unusual, fun, and impressive hobby doesn’t hurt.
The Network World interview is a must-read for job seekers in IT fields wanting to work at Starbucks, but as a glimpse into the coffee giant’s hiring culture it should also appeal to anyone interested in working there. Read the whole interview.