How to Hire Best People
It doesn't make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.
- Steve Jobs
Hiring the best people is at the core of every successful organization. It doesn't matter if the person is a full-time employee or a contractor. If you know the person is the best fit for your product and the team, hire them. At the end of the day, people are your most important asset.
Where to find the best people
Your personal network is a great source of quality candidates. If you know some A-level players, and you worked with them in the past, it's the best it can be. You already know they're great. You and your friend will make a great team and it'll be a fun experience. You may even get a referral bonus if your company has a referral program.
Best people bring more best people. A-players want to constantly evolve, and they naturally want to work with people better than them. Especially if the team members have some complementary skills. They learn from each other and become better as a team where 1+1 = 3. On the opposite side, B level people bring C level people and it keeps going downhill. The reason behind it is because people who are not striving for excellence don't have the burning desire to be the best. They are ok where they are now. So bringing people who are better than them may feel as a thread. The point is, hiring the A players pays off big time.
A great recruiter is worth it. That said, due to a low barrier to entry, there is a lot of inexperienced recruiters out there, so make sure you’re working with an A-level recruiter. Recruiters find you a software developer on a full time or on a contract basis matching the skillset you’re looking for. Be prepared to do a thorough vetting of technical skills as the majority of the recruiters aren’t technical. Most of the recruiters in the US work on a commission basis ranging anywhere between 15% to 25% of the annual salary of the hired employee as a one-tme payment. Which is one of the biggest disadvantages of using a recruiter, it’s costly. If the candidate doesn’t work out, most of the recruiters find a replacement at no cost. And if you’re in a hurry to find some people, a great recruiter can save you a lot of time by bringing you the great candidates who are available now.
If you’re on the budget, or you would like to be involved in the forefront of the search, you can do it yourself. Just go on LinkedIn, start searching for people with the skills you’re looking for in your target region. Once you found them, connect with them and start hitting them up with a message describing who you’re looking for to see if there is any interest. People out there are open to new opportunities at different times so you never know who responds to your message. If you need to fill a role or two and you have a lot of time, this could be a great option. Worth noting that this method takes a lot of effort, a lot of rejections, and ghosting. High profile developers get bombarded with a lot of similar messages and get overwhelmed quickly.
The best part about working with a solid contracting firm is that they most likely already have some resources available to start. If they don’t at the moment, some good reputable firms can hire new people very fast. Contractors are usually properly trained. Each contractor comes with a manager, managing the performance, and helping with roadblocks as they arise. Contractors are performance-oriented and come with “batteries included”. Each contractor comes with their equipment, health insurance, and they pay 100% of their taxes. Whereas if you hire a full-time employee you’ll need to provide them with some equipment, pay some portion of their taxes and most likely a portion of the health insurance, paid leave, sick days, etc.
The only issue with contractors is it’s a hit and miss. Do your research first and make sure the firm is reputable. Past clients are happy and the staff if skilled. There are a lot of firms out there, some of them are great, some of them aren’t and some of them are just a disaster. That being said, once you find a good firm, this engagement will form a long-lasting relationship for you in all your future endeavors.
Different companies interview full-time employee candidates differently. In a nutshell, each interview process consists of a phone screen which can involve some technical questions or a short coding session. Once the phone screen is complete, the candidate meets the team. There are usually several meetings with the members from different parts of the team to have some objective feedback coming from different people. Once the candidate finishes the interview, the team decides on the candidate. Which involves either moving forward with a job offer or passing on the candidate providing valuable feedback.
Worth noting that it’s tempting to delay the final decision to get more information from some additional interviewer. The reality is you get no new information after you team’s interview. No need to waste candidate’s time and your time. It’s best to come to a decision on the candidate as soon as possible. On a related note, candidates usually interview with multiple companies at the same time. Good people get multiple offers (sometimes from large companies like Amazons and Googles of the world) so it’s important to move quickly, get your offer in first, and close.
In case of hiring a contractor, you may still do a technical interview to make sure the person meets your expectations. That said, the interview doesn’t have to be as comprehensive as the FTE interview. If you work with a reputable contracting firm, the firm already does a lot of the heavy screening for you. You can rely on the developer profile provided confirming on your end it’s the right fit for your team.
You found, interviewed, and are ready to hire a person. It’s a great match. You and your team are excited to move forward. Now it’s time to seal the deal and get to work. If you hire a full-time employee, start with a job offer. Which can be sent as an email. There might be some going back and forth about the terms of the arrangement (salary, stock options, etc). Once the terms are clear, the candidate accepts or rejects your job offer. The job market for technology workers is hot. Make sure you have a strong offer. Give the candidate some time to think through it and to give you a final answer. If you work with a contracting firm to secure a new candidate, your Account Executive will handle all negotiations, candidate followup, closing, and contract signing.
In this article, we went over some major aspects of hiring. Hiring is a long play game. And it’s worth it to do it right. Best people bring more best people and this is what you want to happen with your team. Hiring takes time which you may not necessarily have. If you would like to move forward with a project or need some extra help immediately, then hiring a contractor is another option. Most firms combine the two strategies by continuously looking for full-time employees while augmenting their staff with some contractor resources.