A Quick Thought on Hiring

There's a point in the process where you're just broken. You're sick of wading through stacks of resumes. You're sick of interviewing candidates. You've got work piling up behind you already, and now doubly so because so much of your time is consumed with trying to hire someone.

"We should hire (PERSON). They're good enough & can do the job!"

I'd like to stop you there.

Maybe you're working at an enormous company where your co-workers are faceless peons you rarely interact with or care about. And if so, by all means, hire away. But I suspect if you're reading this, that's probably not you.

Maybe you're at a small startup, hiring its first non-founder employee. Maybe you're on a team of 25. Maybe you're on a fast-growing billion+-valuation rocketship. Doesn't matter. If you care about your work, then your number one job is hiring. No matter what your role is.

Maybe you believe that customer satisfaction is the highest priority. Or the quality of your product. Or your team culture. Whatever it is, chances are, it's a result of the people working on it. Everything a small company does is driven by people. The company's values, how they're expressed to your customers, what you're building, how you're building it - everything either depends on or affects the people.

Every new person you add changes the dynamic. The phrase "one bad apple spoils the bunch" is totally true in the workplace. I'm sure we've all worked with the one person who has a poisonous attitude, who everyone then either has to put up with, making their day incrementally more miserable, or work around, making their day incrementally less efficient. For those who've worked at a high-functioning startup, the difference in everything before the first "bad apple" and after is like night and day.

So what's the point? The point is that in those moments where the hiring process has you beaten down, where you feel like you're wasting a huge amount of time on something that seems so trivial, take a second, take a breath, and remember that everything in your company that is good depends on the people. And everything that is bad is created by a person. Because of that, the time you spend on finding the right people is never "wasted time". Long term, it's the most powerful and effective investment you can make.

Oh, by the way - when I say, "your," I mean your. I don't care what your position is. I believe that if you're on a team of 20 or less, every single person on the team should be interviewing everyone in some capacity. Maybe you've got a technical interview then a cultural interview, and a candidate can "not pass" the first part. That's fine - but no one should join your team without talking to you, and everyone should be part of the roundup. Yes, this sounds like an enormous investment of time. Building a great team is hard work. The difference between a good team and a great one is worth the effort.