Let’s talk about hiring. Also hiring’s nuts. i have listened to Mohamed Mudather’s video about hiring (Kutti is the CEO of Orooma, popular recruitment company in Sudan). One of the things he mentioned:

  • you don’t have to have your guy at said company to hire you
  • and companies are struggling to recruit candidates.

So, if that was the case, then why engineers and even great ones are struggling to get hired? Well, Kutti noted companies hire based on internal recommedations, like let’s discuss tech companies and how the process usually work (from my own experience and some empirical observations):

  • a team (usually 2 or 3) is working on some product or feature
  • they stuck in something and they want to hire someone
  • it is often the case the company would hire based on the team’s recommendations, NOT their HR dep. it is also extremely VERY rare in startup companies to even have an HR. The team is one to decide whom to recruit.

For example, i had some managerial roles at several companies for the last couple of years and i don’t recall any time where we recruited someone from HR. It’s always the case we ask through our circle for available developers. I want to call it a Search Space problem: we are searching for candidates through very narrow window, be it our friends, our colleagues, etc.

tech hiring is a broken practice

i hate interviews, when i interview someone or when i get interviewed. i suck at both. And frankly i would argue this is not the best way to assess one’s skills. It is extremely very difficult to talk about your previous works or about your skills. Lots of great engineers i chatted with cannot actually talk about their skills. The verbal interview is just a mere SEO test: you get the ones who show up well, use buzzwords. You might not necessarily want to have those, they are rarely doers.

Whiteboard tests are also not a good indicator. It implies an asynchronousy in the candidate: why would someone be prepared to give you promptly an answer. I never faced a problem where someone must act promptly, programming problems require thorough thinking and a structured process of sorting things out: if you, as a programmer, have to act promptly and always be correct, there is something severly wrong about your employer or team leads.

what are we doin’ at 2t

i’m starting a new thing. We are still working on it, but at 2t i want to change a lot of things. honestly, i’m pissed at lots of things and i also got pissed off quite often so yeah 2t for me is a place where i want to make the world a little bit better.

I made an offer to a junior developer without actually interviewing them. i mean, we did have an interview but it was regarding other parts like cultural fit and so. And that would have been our first hire. But, here are a few notes i made from the said candidate:

  • the candidate wrote us a really well thoughtful letter. Their email included:
    • chonological order of their past experiences. Each entry included what they learned, the technologies they used, the challenges they faced and a link to github or any online resource to support that. That was just amazing. it made things for me extremely very clear and it was a no-brainer to make them an offer
  • i read their email, read their resume, and looked them up. That might seem obvious but companies here rarely do it. The interviewers all seem to just read through the candidate’s resume during the interview. That sucks. That saved us and the candidate tons of time: we actually did our part, we read through the candidates resume, went to their github account and in addition to fetching their activities, i also downloaded the candidates project and read through the whole source code. THIS IS ACTUALLY MY JOB! I HAVE TO READ EVERY SOURCE CODE we have in the company especially now we are a very early startup.

Case in point: yes you can hire without 3 interviews, and without a whiteboard test or the rest of the crap. The hiring process is severely broken and we ought to fix that.

Recruiters: please just do your part and fucking read the candidates resume and look for their github indies: please try to make your resume look as professional as possible. Your attitude is extremely very important and being a nice person is a credit. have a github account, try to make it active and try to contribute to open source projects in addition to have your own side open source projects. It will help A LOT!