June 21, 2005

How to hire the best people, and quickly

Author: Andy Singleton

What if you could tell immediately whether a given person is going to be a great addition to your team? You would be the greatest manager in the history of the world. That's the promise held out by a careful reading of the book "Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking," by Malcolm Gladwell.

Hiring the right people is the single most important thing you can do to ensure the success of an IT project. Good people do the right thing, do it fast, and do it with minimal management intervention. This is especially true in software development, where the good engineers are anecdotally reported to be 10 times as productive as the average contributor. I believe this, and I have invested time in recruiting to makes sure I'm working with the best people I can find.

I have been working on my recruiting process for years, and some of my methods are rather unorthodox. For instance, I don't interview developers until I am sure I want to work with them. I couldn't explain why this is important, until I read "Blink."

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