Lessons Learnt – Hiring

Hiring is always a subject of debate, and there are a lot of books/posts/opinions out there on how/who/what to hire.

For me it boils down to few simple rules:

  • Hire because you want to, not because you need to. Hiring someone just because you need to fill a seat is a recipe for failure. I have hired people in the past because I needed someone, a programmer, a graphic artists, whatever, and the pain of hiring the wrong person is much higher than not hiring at all.
  • Hire smarter than you. I have seen this one before, colleagues sometimes feel threatened when someone walks in the door who is smarter than they are and decides against them for some bogus reason.
  • Hire multi-skilled people. It is always good to hire people because they have multiple skills, that stands to reason. But you need to look for disparate skills which will be useful to you in the future. For example, if you plan to expand into the Japanese market, hiring a developer who is also fluent in Japanese makes very good sense.
  • Never hire based on phone interview alone. Always interview someone face to face. Human beings are social animals (sorry to be so base), and the phone is a very poor communication medium when you don’t know someone.
  • Fire quickly. If the person is not a fit, or they bluffed their way through the screening process (you have a screening process right?) or is clearly out of their depth, it is much better to let them good sooner rather than later. Delay does damage to the project they are on and to the rest of the team because they see that there is an issue (usually before management), and keeping them on is bad for morale. People will not fault you because you fired them, but because you did not fire them fast enough.

One of the better articles I have read on hiring were written by Joel Spolsky and can be read here and here.

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