Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Interviews Are a Two-Way Street

We were recruiting, and had a team interview with a candidate. I was otherwise occupied, and felt unsure of hiring someone who I had no contact with, especially since the things I wanted to know of them were unanswered from my team. We look for people strong in C++, but also python and scripting, since a lot of a DevOps type of team's work ends up being not just pure homeground. So I called them, and spent my 10 minutes finding out what they want out of professional life, what makes them happy and making sure they were aware how delighted my often emotion-hiding team would be if they chose to hang out with us and do some great dev work. They signed. And I'm just as excited as everyone was after having had chance of meeting the candidate.

So often we enter an interview with the idea of seeing if the person is a fit for us. But as soon as we've established that, we should remember that most of the time, the candidates have options. Everyone wants to feel needed and welcome. Letting the feeling show isn't a bad thing.

There's a saying that individuals recruit people like them, and teams recruit people that fill the gaps - diverse candidates. For that to be true, you need to have first learned to appreciate work in team beyond your own immediate contribution.

All this recruiting stuff made me think back to one recruiting experience I had. I went through many rounds of checking. I had a manager's interview. Then a full day of psychological tests. Then a team interview. And finally, even the company CEO wanted to interview me. I required yet another step - I spent a day training testing for my potential future colleagues, in a mob. Every single step was about whether I was appropriate. If I would pass their criteria. They failed mine. They did not make me feel welcome. And the testing we did together showed how much use I would have been (nice bugs on their application, and lots of discipline in exploring) but also what my work would be: teaching and coaching, helping people catch up.

Your candidate chooses you just as much as you choose the candidate. Never forget.