John Mann

John Mann

Soft skills of development

There are a lot of tech jobs out there and several applicants.  However, interviewing is only one step and several additional steps are needed to make sure you have the right candidate.  These are the soft skills, the culture fit, the team fit for your organization.

That being said how do you figure out that about someone during an interview.  The first part is to determine what your current culture is.  Are you an open environment with loud work areas and a lot of constant side conversations.  Are you a quiet environment with multiple offices or cubicles?  What are you trying to nurture?   Innovation is a buzz word that is rarely defined.  I've heard often we want to have an open door policy but then all the doors of management are closed.  Perception is important.  There are some simple things you can do to create certain environments.  We want to come across as professional...does that mean everyone is in a suit and tie?   What is professional to you?   Steve Jobs is known for his turtleneck.  Was he not professional?   We have great offices!  So how does your team work across groups?   Success comes from removing politics and letting go of fear of losing your job and help the company succeed.

Ok, I've babbled enough.  Here is how you approach a candidate. Do not show them your office, they will say exactly the right thing if they see how you are setup.  Take them to an office away from the development environment.  Ask them if they prefer offices to concentrate better.  Lead them down that path you don't want.  You will learn 2 things from this, one will they be led easily or do they have conflicting opinions and can defend it.  Depending on how they respond you can direct that to problem solving... both social problems and conflict, but also technical issues too.  I've seen one person who doesn't fit, ruin an entire organization's culture.

Don't be afraid to make a bad hire. But don't be afraid to let them go when that is identified.

Some employees are considered tenured, due to domain knowledge and experience.  But if they are destroying the culture, let them go.

The last piece I want to mention is don't grow too big.  CFOs hate when I say that, but I would rather have 2 million for 10 years, than 5 million for one.

You can't control everything so hire people you trust and like.  Trust them. You hired them for a reason.

Ok that's all for now.  Thanks for stopping by...

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