Technical recruiting isn’t just about finding skills and a culture fit. One of the issues is that those who are recruiting need to know what the nature of the position is they are filling, and as they screen candidates be able to convey what the position requires to a candidate. This is something that isn’t done as much today, and as a result it is one of the primary reasons people burnout or become demotivated. Every position has a component of skill, cultue and personality fit. The personality fit means that someone will enjoy the tasks and nature of the position. Most importantly it means they can and will do what is required of the job.
So how can one gauge the type of candidate they have during an interview?
Structure vs. Creativity
Candidates who fit into the structure category are ones who operate really well if there are clear guidelines. The want to be managed, work within a process, adhere to milestones, and may not appreciate open-ended projects as much as their counterparts who crave creativity. While those who are creatively inclined will want to know there is little to no process, and that they have the freedom if need be to enact change.
Both types of individuals are very much necessary in any type of organization. Here’s why: the candidate who is structured will be very methodical, meet project deadlines, and keep projects moving forward. However, if there is a snag he might get anxious. That’s when the creative type can step in and solve problems in unconventional ways.
Its important to have both, and have them working with each other. But in the midst of hiring you have to figure out the nature of the position you are filling and which type of candidate it will appeal to. Figuring this out will also lead to lower turnover rates, because you’ll know the personality of your employee and be able to manage them better.
Thinker vs. Executer
There are those who may show a lot of enthusiasm for a company or a project, and will be able to provide a high level solution, but then have a very hard time when it comes to execution. Part of the problem is that there are those who are detail-oriented and those how are just high level thinkers. This is actually a trait that is easy to gauge during an interview. For starters, you need to be able to spot how methodical someone is when solving problems, or following a conversation. If they are very linear then they will most likely fall into your bucket of executer. They will follow a logical path. Whereas, a high level thinker might wander around a little, but they tend to be pretty creative in their approach to problem solving.
There are of course other traits like who can work well under pressure, those who need very clear and explicit directions, but these are harder to gauge in the context of an interview. They will come out with time, or you can do a reference check to speak to past employers.
Once again its up to those who are recruiting to figure out, which kind of candidate they want to hire. But more importantly, gauge these traits so that the candidate will be managed correctly and has the right set of expectations for the position.
Fitting a Square Programmer into a Round Hole
Too often recruiters and developers think that matching skills and the culture of the team is sufficient. But truthfully every developer is different in terms of their personality and how they go about solving problems. If you are interested in having the candidate work for you and add long term value you have to be able to gauge their interests and capabilities from day one. Failing to do can manifest itself in underperformance, not because the developer wasn’t talented, but because their skills and personality weren’t leveraged correctly.
As you’re filling out your job description for your next hire think about the following:
- What are the upcoming projects in the pipeline?
- Does the candidate have time to learn a new skill set?
- Do I need someone who is already an expert who can start executing right away?
- Does the project require working with different departments, figuring out feasibility, and maybe even need to go through a few iterations?
- In previous positions, did the candidate succeed in a structured or unstructured environment? For how long?
- How would the candidate react to deadlines that are moved up or pushed back?