jeudi 17 avril 2014

Hire People You're Excited To Work With

I've worked in the games industry for nearly 8 years now, and over the last few I've hired up for multiple teams. I've hired QA testers, production coordinators, managers, mobile developers, artists. Some of those hires have been amazing successes, and others were spectacular failures. As time has gone on, I've examined and refined how I interview, what I look for in a candidate, and what extra factors may be worth considering before making a go/no-go decision.

Today, when interviewing someone for a position on one of my teams, I make sure they talk with:
1. Myself (first round)
2. A potential direct co-worker
3. A potential direct report (if hiring for a manager)
4. A potential indirect co-worker
5. A senior leader they would work indirectly with
So if I were hiring a QA Manager, they would interview with me, an existing member of the QA team (and everyone on the team is encouraged to participate in interviews), one of my other team managers, a game producer, and then the Director of the Studio.
I do this for a few reasons:
• I think its important people are given the opportunity to interview a potential boss.
• I think its important people are given the opportunity to interview a potential peer they'll work with.
• Senior leaders and indirect coworkers can provide a more objective evaluation and may look at a candidate from a different perspective.
After all of those people interview a candidate (typically over 3-4 sessions total), we all sit down and evaluate that person's capabilities as we see them from the resume and interview. First we look at their technical capability to do the job, so if the person can't do the work, they're out of the running. This usually becomes clear after just one interview, but sometimes takes a few to sort out.
If a candidate ticks all the boxes for the job and we feel would be a capable and competent addition to the team, I then go around and ask everyone one final question:
"Would you be excited to have this person come in to work and sit down next to you on Monday morning?"
There are only two answers to this question. It's either an enthusiastic "Yes!" or it's a no. If the response is luke-warm, or indifferent, or anything short of excited, then the answer is no.
It only takes a few "No" votes to reject a candidate.
Why do I put so much weight on such a subjective evaluation? Because I believe that having a team that fits together is hugely important. Possibly the most important thing. I'd rather have a team of people who were good at their job and worked together like a well oiled machine than have a team of rock stars that don't play well with others. I've seen and been a part of both sorts of teams and if I have to choose between the two which I'd want to be a part of during a crunch, I'd pick the team that gels in a heartbeat!
When adding someone to your team, you're not just picking a body to stick at a desk and work through a task list. This is a person you're going to have to sit near and likely talk to virtually every day for a long time. You will probably see this person more than your partner. And your professional success is going to in part depend on them. And when a project deadline looms, or a system goes down and you're under the gun to deliver results, you want to be working with people who have your back, who will come together as a team to help get the job done.
Building the right team and the right culture is critical to building an organization that is successful in the long term. And one of the most important ways to influence that is in who you hire. So why wouldn't you want to only hire people you're excited to work with?

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