Hiring is Fifth on your list? Yeah, it is mainly most of the time, people run a team already, or just took over a team etc. and very few will be starting from nothing. Hiring is important, particularly important, but if you do not know how to run a team hiring will not solve it. 

How many times you heard the following: 

  • Hire People Smarter than you. 
  • Hire Someone in your blind spot 
  • Hire Diverse candidates 
  • Hire people who are willing to learn (not what they know)  
  • Hire candidates for the role you have 
  • Hire the best candidate whether they fit your role, then find a place for them later 
  • Use the try to buy (consulting to convert)  
  • Use the ‘why is a manhole cover is round’ (or other problem-solving question)  
  • You need a minimum of X number of interviews before you know a candidate is good. 
  • You need to see a minimum number of candidates before you can pick one (or just compare the ones you get)  
  • Hire someone from the best schools 

I think I could just have a list of 100, start a poll and see what my readers have done, but just use those are some thoughts.

What if I said there is no ‘right’ answer and also there is no ‘wrong’ answer to any of the ideas above? Looking at the list, at different points in my career I have leveraged one or more of them. I have hired some great people, and also have hired some duds (If you never hired a dud, I doubt you hired a bunch of people.) The one thing I did do is learn from each hire, the questions to ask, the things to look at and how to evaluate to get the right candidate for my team.

I could end the blog here, but I doubt most can just rely on ‘learning’ by making mistakes. The hiring starts well before the interview, why again the first four parts were about the team not the hiring. Once you have created the culture for the team now the challenge is ‘writing’ the job description needs to reflect the culture not just the job. Your job description cannot just be ‘I need a Java developer to help build a trading app for so and so company. The required skill sets are Java, database etc..’ That will not get the right people saying ‘hmmm, that sounds awesome,’ Again, my team built tools to help file corporate taxes, and no one in kindergarten ever said, ‘I want to write tax software when I get older.’ The JD needs to show the culture, the experience, and the challenge that your team excels at.  

Next (now this is what I wish) the resume did not have name, address, or anything on it. I would like to read it without any kind of prejudice (try to remove cognitive bias.). Something in the resume needs to stand out, something other than a list of ‘what they did.’ A story, a why that connects with your that will ‘fit’ your culture. This is something that as a reader of resume’s you get better at with practice (Maybe I should create a class in this) 

Lastly, as said in the interview, with all the different theories on questioning for interviews, the key is to be consistent across everyone you hire. But one interview must be for ‘fit’ for the team. The line of questioning will be about the culture of past employment, or even things like college professors that got them excited. A question that sheds light on culture is describing the toughest problem you ran into, and how you got it resolved. What you are listening for are things like ‘I got help from….’ or ‘my team and I’ these are signals that they know how to work in a team environment. A good follow up question is, ‘what is the hardest problem someone asked you to help them out with?’ And see what they did to help.  

But Wait there is more…. after you chose to hire someone, you need to document this, answer the ‘why did we hire this person?’ ‘What did we ask them?’ ‘What did they reply?’ and ‘what led us to believe this would be a great candidate for us?’ I can honestly say I always did this, but its a practice that once in place does allow you to reflect easier. Yes, a retrospective. These notes should be reviewed yearly as part of your review with that employee. See how they are progressing and were the things that you saw in the interview correct, and the ones incorrect what do you need to change in your interview process.

This is longer than I wanted it to be (as of now) so part 6 will be part 2 of hiring….  

This opinion is mine, and mine only, my current or former employers have nothing to do with it. I do not write for any financial gain; I do not take advertising and any product company listed was not done for payment. But if you do like what I write you can donate to the charity I support (with my wife who passed away in 2017) Morgan Stanley’s Children’s Hospital or donate to your favorite charity. I pay to host my site out of my own pocket, my intention is to keep it free.  I do read all feedback; I mostly wont post any of them 

This Blog is a labor of love and was originally going to be a book.  With the advent of being able to publish yourself on the web I chose this path.  I will write many of these and not worry too much about grammar or spelling (I will try to come back later and fix it) but focus on content.  I apologize in advance for my ADD as often topics may flip.  I hope one day to turn this into a book and or a podcast, but for now it will remain a blog.