Unordered thoughts about programming, engineering and dealing with the people in the process.

5 Hiring Mistakes You Shall Never Do

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These are hiring mistakes you can make even knowing you’re making a mistake. The problem is that sometimes you have this deadline, or you’ve been searching for the perfect hire for months, and you lower your standards. Hey, maybe that guy who arrived 20 minutes late to the interview wasn’t that bad after all…

Or wasn’t he?

It’s always short sighted, there’s a saying in spanish “pan para hoy y hambre para maƱana”, something like “feast today, famine tomorrow”. It will come back to bite you.

No matter what, here are 5 things that you shall never do.

1 You shall not hire in a hurry

Just the fact that you need someone in a hurry is a red flag. Hiring someone in that situation is going from bad to worse. In the short term you may put out the fire, but in the long run you’ve compromised your foundations.

If you really,really, really need a puppet to fill a chair tomorrow, hire a freelancer and dismiss it when the project’s over. Building a team is like building a family, you don’t invite the first monkey coming out the door to be your cousin when you need someone to hug you.

2 You shall not hire someone you don’t respect

It doesn’t mean you can only hire your heroes, respect is about recognition of abilities or achievements. You can respect someone smarts, you can respect what someone has built, or you can be in awe of someone’s interpersonal skills.

I’m not talking about B players hiring C players. I’m talking about the case you dismissed the position you’re hiring for, and started thinking a “good enough” was good enough.

It’s not.

Aim for someone who can blow the position out of the water, hiring someone who can barely do the job says you are ok with mediocrity in your team.

If you have some task that good enough will do, outsource it.

3 You shall never hire a prick

There will come the time when you interview this someone who’s a freaking beast, smart, fast, experienced, but he’s a jerk.

No hire.

There’s this company here in Uruguay who used to have two brilliant jerks in their own apartment to keep them from fucking up the rest of the team. Unless this kind of jerk isolation works for you, no hire, you’re building a team you know?

4 You shall never hire by price

Would you buy a plane ticket from an airline who’s not doing their maintenance, the pilot started flying yesterday, and had 10 incidents the last month, just because the tickets are half the price?

Why is it that people put their companies in the hand of incompetents just because they’re cheap? Cheap is always more exensive in the long run, it’s not only about hiring 10x developers, lousy developers create more bugs, write unmantainable code and will make your customers mad because they can’t handle a phone call like a human being.

Beware, more expensive doesn’t always equal better, there are some clever incompetents who are fond of asking more money when the market’s hot. Never hire by price means salary is not your main deciding factor.

5 You shall never ever hire on behalf of others

If your company has more than 10 employees, you are not hiring by yourself. You think you’re so smart you know what’s good for your company, above and beyond? It doesn’t matter, each person gets hired by her manager and her future team.

This is what you can do:

  • You set the standard
  • You set the hiring process
  • You get veto power at the end
  • That’s it

Let people do their own fuck ups and take responsibility for it, that’s how you grow better leaders