We’ve all done it, hired the person who looked great on paper because they seemed to possess the skills we needed. Only to have the hire turn out to be a major disaster. 

Here is the truth: Technical resources have a high failure rate because of how they are interviewed. I am going to argue that Assumptions and expectations alignment is where we fail. 

Today is about how to evaluate and hire strong technical talent by uncovering the Truth.

Today’s Quote: 

"Talent without discipline is like an octopus on roller skates. There's plenty of movement, but you never know if it's going to be forward, backward, or sideways." - H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

I’m Rick Girard and welcome to the Hire Power Radio Show. Our mission is to help Entrepreneurs and hiring managers to avoid costly hiring mistakes by identifying a specific problem and provide proven solutions to enable you to WIN the right hire. We share insights from top-performing rebel entrepreneurs, disruptors & industry experts. 

Like our guest today: Aaron Cooley, Lead Consultant - Security & Mobility for Kunai.

Aaron Cooley is senior technical consultant at Kunai. His specialties include high security backend applications, mobile applications, and applications that leverage video.  Over his nearly 30 year career in Silicon Valley he’s worked at companies both large and small, to build teams and deliver everything from the first Java enabled handset, to Yahoo’s video player, to secure data processing for the world’s largest accounting firms. Aaron has hired hundreds of engineers throughout his career which makes Aaron a perfect expert for today’s topic.

Aaron, Welcome to the Hire Power Radio Show today! 

Today we are going to cover 

  • How to identify & evaluate strong technical talent
  • How to interview and Hire the person you company needs

Why do we fail in hiring technical talent?

  • Arbitrary requirements… pass the technical coding test but failed miserably when they were hired. 
  • %of false positives
  • & false negatives

What to be looking for?

  • Desire is way more important than initial skillset! 
  • Really want the job, you have to jump on that
  • In 3 weeks they will know what they need to know for the job

What to Avoid

  • Do you know what I know? You want people who know things that you don’t know. 
  • Don’t do coding quizzes … it is about you, not the other person
  • Don’t hire an ‘Architect’ that doesn’t write code every day.  A good technical lead is 100% hands on every time, but many ‘Architects’ are actually technical product owners.  They only understand technology from the perspective of a customer. They are great at making diagrams, and requirements, not great at leading technical teams to implement solutions.

Rick’s Input:

    • Resume Bias

      • Assumptions! 
    • Look for transferable skills, not skill lists
    • Years of experience doesn't really matter
    • Impact- What have they REALLY accomplished?

How do we fix it?

  • Start with the resume

    • What did they do
    • Progression
    • Are the things they have done relevant to you
    • Looking for the pattern of starting & delivering
  • Interview
    • Skip the coding quizzes
    • Make the interview about them
    • What exactly did YOU do?
    • Day to day work… detail it out! Dig deep
    • Individual contributor vs. lead engineer
    • IC focus on tasks that someone else defined. Great at delivering but not the best person to drive things. Documentation not important to this person.
    • Lead Engineer: will see the need for documentation and they’ll encourage others to do the same. Comments on the code, write the new code and will see opportunities to write new code through documentation. 
    • All engineering like writing new code!  

Two sides to the interview

  • You selling to the person
  • Ego in the room
  • Finding out if the person is a match
  • Leave your ego out of the room
  • Find out what the person has really done
  • If your interview process it that broken, I don't want to work for your company

Rick’s Nuggets

  • Resume

    • Work history
    • What was accomplished. Evidence of impact
      • What did you do?
      • How did you do it?
      • What were the results?
  • Interview
    • Utilize the phone screen!

Key Takeaways:

  • Skip coding quizzes
  • Architects and technical leadership NEED to write code!
  • Make the interview about the person and dig deep with questions based on experience. What someone has done before is the best predictor of the future
Share | Download

Play this podcast on Podbean App