Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Agile Hiring?

At my workplace, I see new faces every week as the company is still aggressively hiring. Having a very bad (or selective?) memory, this is a terrifying challenge for me: will I ever recognize anyone? Thanks to the internal wiki-based directory with mugshots of all the happy employees, I can at least learn at my pace the monikers I need to know.

This constant workforce growth sent me back, again, to my reflections on how to pick up the right candidate. Not anyone can use robots to do this, so can a rule of thumb be of any help?

Initially, I thought that selecting the ones who get things done would be enough.

But there are so many awkward ways to do things that (seem to) work that this I came to consider this rule as too simplistic and decided to enrich it this way: get the ones who get things done right.

But then, the issue is that the right way of doing things must be defined and specified, which implies a lot of preparatory work and the risk of erring in the toxic realm of micromanagement.

So I finally decided that the best way of selecting people is to keep the ones who actually remove work from you rather than add extra work on your shoulders. This implies that the candidate must actually be hired and exposed to the reality of work in the company. This is why orientation periods exist.

This might sound like a waste but I prefer to consider this as an agile way of dealing with new hires: select them with the information you have at recruitment time then let time pass and re-adjust to reality.