In the past few days I’ve stumbled upon two articles on how to hire people, both depicting a different point of view. It’s an interesting topic and actually a quite hard one; I’m not surprised companies are struggling with it lately.
The first article detailed the selection process for a content curator position. The author got a vast amount of applications and did his best to filter most of them. He wanted only a handful of people for phase two, so that he needed to come up with criteria that is both effective and logical.
The second post was about technical interviewing. Most companies want the absolute best people to empower their businesses, so they reject most of the applicants. The main motivator is to rather reject a good candidate than to hire a bad one. In practice, some big companies rejected people who later found great and lasting startups.
I have some personal experiences with hiring too. I wanted some help with my freelancing business, so I posted two advertisements. The answers were mixed. I got to know some very talented people, some of them already had their own business running. I worked with some of them, both the established ones and the starters.
As for the starters, most people turned out to be a no-fit for my business. There were some small works I could delegate, but I still did the majority of the work; we soon parted company.
Finding good people is a difficult challenge. The second post proposes a solution: employ the aspiring people as contractors for a few months and see if they fit. Pay them well, but regard this as an extended interview process. If they fit, you win an employee; if not, you don’t need to go through the process of firing them.
On another post I saw a similar advice. Give candidates a weekend project and have them present their solution to the team. And also pay them a fair price for their effort. Paying is actually important; people tend to consider a work serious if they get something in return.
The one thing I would add is a simple FizzBuzz-like test. It’s a trivial challenge that filters out people who have never written any code. For a developer position, it should be a bare minimum.
Hiring people is hard. Finding good team members is an essential task for staying in business. And the traditional methods are failing to provide results; companies need to innovate in this domain too.