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Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Lessons on hiring I have learnt from my personal experiences
Forming a great team is crucial. I learnt that bitterly. It is impossible to do things by myself. I’m limited by my personal capacity. Outsourcing stable processes is so important for scaling your project.
I often judge people based on intuition. That’s a huge mistake. Rather than judge people, match people’s skills to job tasks you need. Putting the right skills/talent to the right job instantly increases the performance by multiple folds.
I don’t think there are exceptional talents that excel in everything that they do. I believe that most people are great in a few areas. Some are good at writing and researching, some are good at checking and detecting errors. Some are good at giving ideas whereas some others are great at keeping time and being punctual.
The CV is rather useless in terms of providing great insights on the potential colleague. At best, it tells you a list of jobs he/she worked on. We need to fit different characters to different jobs. If you want to restructure the firm, you need a new leader. The existing leader can never restructure the firm himself – he is embedded in the system. It’s very hard for him to tear apart the relationships he built. It’s much cheaper to change a leader.
I think the first step to hiring is deciding on the firm structure. Do you want a team that is punctual on submissions? Do you prefer a team that is managed strictly on project management tools? I prefer these management methods! The opposite is to get a team less structured – less emphasis on abiding by specific timeline and deliverables. The next step is to hire the right type of characters.
Experience can sometimes be overrated. An intelligent worker will learn from mentorship and from doing and reading.Hiring a cheaper intelligent worker is better than hiring purely for experience in the long term. Because intelligence is hard to detect, sometimes experience adds value.
Interaction with the potential colleague is almost always the best way to assessing them. I would take out intuition from decision making process. I would allow this potential colleague to meet with the existing team. If he is able to interact well with them, that’s a plus. Next, I would ask behavioral questions. Amazon is good with these types of interviews. I have personally been interviewed by Amazon – they ask 5 to 8 behavioral questions. Probe them with other questions when the candidate is sharing his experiences.
Hiring is a 50-50% exercise. Even though you can do your best to assess the colleague, it turns out that 50% of the time you will be wrong. You should react by letting the person go respectfully. In bigger firms, there may be other positions for the person to rotate to. For small teams, it is important to recruit slow and let off misfits fast.