A Short Perspective on Hiring

Disclaimer: by no means am I a hiring expert. Consider yourself disclaimed. I’m just a person who likes to think about interacting with other people and not paper representations of people.

So I’m writing this post because I was spurred by reading “Two Questions” via the blog of capwatkins. This article expresses in words a feeling I often find myself trying to communicate, which is why I want to write it down (writing helps me learn how to better articulate my feelings).

When I say “we’re hiring!” the response I often get is “well, if you’re hiring, what are looking for?” The (unspoken) expected answer to this question is some kind of narrowly-scoped job description an HR department would love. Additionally, a job title of some kind is likely expected, which is unfortunate because those things often cause more confusion than clarity since they mean a lot of different things to different people.

In response, I try to explain that we aren’t looking for anyone in particular, just good, smart people in general. I want candidates to bring their skills and personality. If it’s the right fit, we will find make a place for them — be it junior developer, senior UI architect, full stack developer, whatever. We need them all. “Give me your poor, your javascript fatigued, your huddled masses yearning to code.”

This blog post from capwatkins expresses my sentiments on the matter. In particular, I think the two questions he formulated pierce to the heart of hiring:

What skills does a particular candidate have that our teams and projects would benefit from?
What is a candidate trying to achieve and are we set up to help them do so?

Asking the right questions like this and having a change in mindset can really help you look for a candidate “who fits the shape of the team and project, rather than the shape of our role docs”.

In my experience (again which is whatever), job titles and descriptions are waaaaaay too limiting. Something I have to constantly remember to articulate when people ask me to write one for an opening.