Running a technology company is a challenging endeavor. Not only are consumers demands changing daily, the technology to deliver upon those demands is constantly evolving. Where you host your infrastructure and software, what your developers code in, what version you are on, and how you are poised to deliver quality product is not the same as it was 20 years ago, probably not even 10 or 5 years ago. And these should all be good things. But underlying all those things is a common denominator: people. In Seed, Feed, Weed I outlined what companies need to do in order to maintain a stable of great employees. This article will delve down into the aspect of Seed a little more.
What is Seed?
At its core, seed is hiring the best people for the job. Unfortunately, it takes a little bit of work to get to that. If it was that easy, then this is where the article would end…
But it doesn’t.
Seed is not just your hiring managers dealing with a specific labor pool available to them. It needs to be more than that. It needs to be an ever evolving, ever responsive organism within your organization.
If your HR Recruiting office is still hiring people like it did in the 90’s, then don’t be surprised when you get talent on par with 90’s capability. No longer can you sit back and wait for the right candidate to come to you because chances are what you are hiring for is buried under a million other similar job postings in your area. Your desired future candidates are out, going to meet ups, conferences, and other networking events. To meet them, you too need to be in attendance.
If you are able to hire a future employee from a conference where other employers are present, that is a great indicator of where your company stands. If you can’t stand at least shoulder-to-shoulder with your competitors, then you will never be able to hire the best people.
There are many great advantages to the minimalization of the world through telecommunications. Now if a certain skillset is only available half-way around the world, today’s technology makes it much easier to overcome the distance challenge. This isn’t to say the debate over off-shore vs. near-shore or in-house has a clear winner, but there are many more options.
So where should you be looking? Do you want quality or quantity? If quality matters, start where competition in your sector is heaviest. If quantity matters, any place will do. But hopefully you want quality. Almost anyone can sit at a desk for 8 hours. Very few talented programmers can adapt your current architecture to meet the demands of a market in 6 months.
If your company is afraid to enter a competitive technology market geography because of fear it won’t be able to hire more employees than the competition, then that should be a red flag. Challenge breeds greatness.
The hiring process itself should be iterative and multi-faceted. Sure, it is nice to be able to tell a prospective candidate they will go through two 30-minute phone screens, followed by two 1 hour on sites, but maybe that job, or that candidate needs something a little more, or a little less.
Don’t be afraid to deviate your approach based upon the role or the potential future employee. Just make sure they are aware of it and why you are changing from what they were told. This will give them a chance to shine more. Recently, I got to be a part of a hiring process that should’ve involved two 30-minute phone screens and one 2-hour onsite. That 2-hour onsite was deemed not long enough because the candidate and the future employer spent too much time discussing the minutiae of various implementations to an engineering plan. And that’s ok. They then asked the candidate to do a video conference where he stepped through the code base. But they let him know why they needed that follow on. It wasn’t to test him further. It was because he had simply “clicked” too well with the engineering aspect and time ran away from them.
Additionally, it shouldn’t just be technology members involved in hiring developers. Far too often a new employee has trouble meshing with the culture of the organization or team because they were asked purely technical-related questions or presented with technical scenarios. Have someone from your People Operations or Marketing, involved as well. This will help flesh out the entirety of the candidate and provide them with more knowledge of the company.
Far too often companies are so focused on their hyper growth that getting “butts in seats” matters more than getting the right people. Nine times out of 10, one great employee is going to be better than three okay employees.
We’ve helped dozens of companies fill interim roles as we helped find great employees. If you need assistance on how to identify a great employee, and Seed your company appropriately,
AKF can help.