I’ve written about my personal views on hiring in the past, especially the old maxim "Hire the best, not just the candidate that’s available when you need them." Recently, those points-of-view have been tested. The empowered hiring process I’ve advocated so strongly won.
Iotum’s hiring process is as much a copy of the processes I learned at Microsoft as we can make it. We follow the hire / no-hire rule, people solve problems during interviews, and we divvy the "ideal candidate characteristics" up amongst various interviewers in order to get the best determination of the candidates fit. The only thing we don’t do is the "as appropriate" interview — we’re just too darn small not to utilize every member of the team to interview.
Recently we interviewed four candidates. One, in particular, generated spirited debate, with some of the team wanting to hire, and some not. In the end, that candidate got a no-hire. I was personally torn. Two of our team believed strongly that we needed this individual, and two just as strongly felt that he wasn’t a fit. To add fuel to the fire, we are facing a short term deadline where an extra set of skilled hands might make a difference. It’s a tough place for the CEO of a startup to be, especially a first time CEO like myself. As the CEO I could have unilaterally made a decision to put aside our process and hire, but to do so would have destroyed the integrity of the process and disempowered our team, who have taken admirable ownership of the hiring process. It would have set a terrible precedent.
I confess that I was tempted. In the end, however, we remained true to the process. Sometimes it means a painful wait, but it’s cheaper in the long term to hire the right candidate. For now, it means that our team may have to work a little harder to meet our goals.
Oh, and if you know any really hard-core developers, send them my way.