Hire IT professionals quickly

IT Manager’s Journal tries to tell IT Managers to hire IT professionals quickly if they want high-caliber IT personnel. High-caliber IT personnel get snapped up quickly, so if you want them (and you do). This article is a sub-point within Joel’s discussion on hiring.

I’ve been there, and seen it. On both sides. One employeer had to wait two years before being able to actually act on their intention to hire me. So my advice goes like this:

Be clear on a start date

Some people will be pleased with 2 weeks, others 2 months; if you can be flexible, all the better. Bad is: “We’ve got to get final budget approval, and then we’ll stagger you in with the others over a six week window.” My response would be: “Fine, but you’re going to start paying me now, right?” That’s not a start date. That’s more like an intention. Which could have the carpet pulled out from underneath it. Why did I just spend two hours in a interview with you?

Hire in small groups

Minimize the number of people you try to hire in one hit – well, at least compress the time between interviews and acceptance. Uncertainty is hard to work with. And if you’re looking to hire twelve people, you’ll want the best 12, and that means interviewing everyone and then ranking them. Actually, perhaps Joel’s approach to interviewing is the right way to ensure you get the number of people you need – he ranks the resumes, does a half-hour+ phone interview and then a face-to-face.

Pay Through the Nose – and be happy about it

High-caliber IT personnel are excellent value, even when they cost twice your average-caliber IT personnel. Study after study has shown it. They get more done, and the stuff they do works better. In fact, I believe it’s an order of magnitude best-to-average, and another order of magnitude averge-to-worst. A hundredfold difference. At twice the price, the best people are a steal. More words from Joel:

In some other industries, cheap is more important than good. Wal*Mart grew to be the biggest corporation on Earth by selling cheap products, not good products. If Wal*Mart tried to sell high quality goods, their costs would go up and their whole cheap advantage would be lost. For example if they tried to sell a tube sock that can withstand the unusual rigors of, say, being washed in a washing machine, they’d have to use all kinds of expensive components, like, say, cotton, and the cost for every single sock would go up.

As an aside, I’ve used Joel’s Guerrilla Guide to Interviewing and found it works fairly well.

What have I missed?

2 thoughts on “Hire IT professionals quickly

  1. daniel

    What’s with your US spelling? Caliber?

    I think Joel’s stuff covers most of it, but I’d just add: choose very carefully. I witnessed one guy who was brilliant in the interviews, but in the end turned out to be totally unsuitable for the job — not because of lack of skills, but lack of motivation. I honestly don’t remember how thorough the reference checking was… obviously not thorough enough

  2. josh Post author

    What’s wrong with cut-n-paste from the source text? I’m lazy, it’s what makes me hi-caliber. 🙂

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