Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Recruit

I have been on a hunt to recruit the best fella I can find for my team. I have been on the other side of the fence but never realized that hiring someone was such a hard thing. Its hard because its not simply like selling a product or asking to team up with us, its hard because I am asking some individual to bet some of his life years in my organization. Scary type of an evangelism if you are a like me where you have your own doubts.Finally I hired a person who started today.

I always had a philosophy that if you recruit someone who isnt a fit its always a mistake of the folks who employs the person, not the person himself. This was the first recruitment I have done in my career and it took me 6 months to find this new candidate. The upside was for the first time I got a thumbs up from all 9 people I had him interview with.

Its interesting that this fellow has his bachelors' in environmental affairs but yet I voted him to know enough abour internet performance analytics given. I am betting on "diamond in the rough" philo here but then bets can go either way and the blame would be on me. My pipeline was almost empty for weeks and the qualifications I was looking for were rare enough that not enough people were in the pipeline to be interviewed and the right ones were already working. If I have such a hard time hiring in the valley, I wonder how folks back in India are hiring in droves while maintaining some semblance of quality/relevance.

Mostly the recruiters dont have a clue and try to make their number by sending in unwashed masses.Once ina while you get lucky and get a good one. I usually dont look too deep into resumes or ask them trivia questions like syntax or features based on a version. Similarly I dont like companies that ask them because it tells me about their standards.I usually ask my prospects to describe whats cool, why things work they way they are now, how they envision the future and finally the limitations of the well known tools (if you dont know the limitations of a popular tool you havent worked extensively enough). I am looking for signs of acuity, insight and understanding.Then I look for qualities like passion and integrity. Passion is neccesary because majority of folks at companies other than startups dont care about their work and it shows on the product (if you dont believe me take the counter example of Apple) plus it is easy to motivate people with passion. Integrity is important because your investment in the candidate would be well worth it apart from it being an infectious quality of making things right.

This exerscise tells me that I have to be on the lookout for the top talent all the time and not neccesarily when I have a vacancy because they are not neccesarily in the market when I want them, so I have to be hiring them when they want to move. In fact, I was literally begging a UC Berkeley grad working for another monster company to join us.

My final objective with this person is that I can take a long vacation and no one in my firm should remember my name in any context when I am on my vacation. We shall see if that happens for this christmas...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting post, and i mean interesting in the normal sense. :)
I agree with most of what you say, but actually I should not. When i was younger and could afford to make more mistakes the dad of a friend of mine told me that when you go for an interview you should allways be yourself. Only then would the interviewer be able to access if you will fit in or not.

The unfortunate part of the story if that I never get select when I am myself at an interview. So now it makes me wonder if I manage to act differently from what I am and am selected, would the interviewer still be responsible??

Another thing is that I know people who have been using a tool/package for more than 4 years and still think that it is perfect. (One does not call his girl-friend also perfect after so long but still).

There are different types of people one who is imaginative and knows what would make his work simpler? Why redo the same things again and again types?

The other kind is the kind who molds himself according to the limitations of the tool. if you want work done on the tool, the latter is the better but he would not be able to find too many limitations(that he would remember off the top of his head).

I hope I am clear in what I have tried to say..

Hope that people dont forget you by the time you come back from a long vacation.. You may be out of a job :)
By the way where you off to for Christmas?