On hiring developers, company culture, and startups
You’ve been trusted to build the best dev team. So as a hiring manager, gatekeeping is likely part of your hiring philosophy—it’s how you only hire the best developers. But too many hiring managers assume everyone wants to work at their company, and that it is their job to keep them out.
In The Science of Hiring, you took a deep dive into predictive validity and selection methods; now, you’re probably wondering what to do about all those numbers. Let’s explore some applications of using science to hire more effectively.
Hiring managers are afraid to make a bad hire, so they developed their own intricate hiring processes to ensure bad hires don’t get offers. Bad news—the research is clear; unless these hiring processes are based on proven selection methods, complex and arbitrary processes do not reliably predict the job performance of a potential hire. Good news—you can feel more confident about your ability to make a good hire if you use a streamlined process based on selection methods that are proven to predict an individual’s on-the-job performance.
Fallacies are destructive. They are mistaken beliefs based on unsound judgment or flawed reasoning. Technical hiring managers are not immune to believing fallacies; if not exposed, these fallacies can trap you in a never-ending cycle of ineffective hiring practices.
Developers are in high demand and there aren’t enough of them to go around. In 2019, there were nearly 1M unfilled technical roles and that shortage has continued to grow. Your job posting is a sales pitch; it needs to cast a wide net and attract as many qualified candidates as possible. This guide will teach you how to write a compelling job description that will cut through the noise and draw in the most qualified candidates.
In 2004, I was a senior majoring in Computer Engineering at Brigham Young University. The tech industry hadn’t yet fully recovered from the bubble bursting, so programming jobs were pretty hard to come by. I was applying for jobs everywhere, but just couldn’t seem to get an interview. One day, I saw a flyer pinned to the mostly empty job board in the Computer Science department. It said that Microsoft would be coming to the campus for a job fair.
It had been 2 months since I left the second company I founded, Numetric. In just 3 short years I’d built the company from nothing to a working product, dozens of customers, 40 employees and enough recurring revenue to raise over $16M in venture funding from some of the world’s top VCs. And then I got fired. Getting fired from the company you founded sucks - but that’s a story for another day.
This article was inspired by a request from Robert Sweeney, CEO at Facet, to describe what life as a contractor is like for me. Who should read this? Full-time developers who are currently employees, yet are curious about what contracting would be like. What has the transition from employee to contractor been like? Looking back, I guess I’ve always been a contractor in one form or another. A friend and I started software and website contracts in high school1 in 1993 and continued that throughout university.
Companies exist to make money. Companies need employees to do work so that they can make money. In a recent LinkedIn post I called “unlimited vacation” a scam. My post seemed to resonate with a lot of people…and also upset a few people. Let’s break it down to see if we can find some common ground. Scam: a dishonest scheme; a fraud Companies that offer “unlimited vacation” are not being honest with their employees.