CTech's Book Review: How to hire winners during a tech talent shortage
Yair Green, VP of R&D at Syte, shares insights after reading “Who: The A Method for Hiring” by Geoff Smart and Randy Street
Title: “Who: The A Method for Hiring”
Author: Geoff Smart and Randy Street
“Who: The A Method for Hiring” tackles one of the most – if not the most – critical challenges in the tech industry today: hiring. Unsuccessful hiring is costly and painful for any organization, but with today’s hyper-competitive market, including impossible-to-match offers from top-tier tech companies, startups are struggling more than ever to source and hire the best candidates for each role.
As long-time managers know, the strength of any company or team depends on the strength of its employees, so successful hiring is the ultimate objective. This book provides an insightful and practical methodology for hiring what it calls “A Players,” or the optimal employees for any type of role. With easy-to-implement steps culled from data and deep research, I’ve found it to be a must-have tool for any manager, and really anyone interested in building a professional network.
While the themes in this book may sound straightforward at a glance, they provide a structure that empowers hiring managers to avoid extremely common mistakes, like focusing too deeply on an applicant’s CV or hiring based on gut instinct. Some of the key ideas explored are:
Continuously Build Your Network: This is critical for creating an initial pool of high-quality talent. Be sure to maintain relationships with people from past workplaces, conferences, professional organizations, etc. Don’t be shy about asking for introductions and recommendations. By constantly expanding this network, you’ll have ongoing access to potential candidates.
Create a Scorecard to Define What You’re Looking For: To avoid falling back on instinct or insufficient data, predefine what you need from a candidate in this particular role. Create a list of questions that will give you clear answers on whether or not that candidate meets the required criteria, from core competencies and skills to culture fit.
Build an Effective Interview Flow: In order to learn the most you can about a candidate during the interview process, create a flow that includes a short initial screening interview, a deeper “who” interview that allows you to evaluate the candidate using the scorecard, a focused interview on technical skills, and then a reference check.
Sell the Position: Hiring is not a one-way process. Make sure to devote time within the interview process to selling the benefits of your company and your team to the candidate, so they’ll be excited to join.
What I’ve Learned:
Throughout my career, I’ve learned that you are who you hire. Hiring true talents is an art, and if you don’t have the methodology to do it correctly, you’re likely to pay for your mistakes. In reading “Who: The A Method for Hiring”, I learned that not only is there a clear path and formula you can follow to minimize these costly mistakes, but I was able to pin down the key areas to pay close attention to when hiring. Everything from the way you prepare for an interview, to the atmosphere you create, to the questions you ask, and even how you present the job to the candidate, are all critical to successful hiring. By sticking to a thoughtful methodology like the one in this book, you can truly increase your chances of hiring the right people for your team and for your company.
Additionally, what I took away from this book is that hiring is an ongoing process. It doesn’t begin when you post a new role on your careers page. Successful hiring begins with your network and the ongoing relationships that you build and maintain. It’s important to remain active in your professional community, nurture relationships, and see relevant people within your network as potential talents for your future teams.
Who Should Read This Book:
If you are a manager who hires people (or plan to be one) and you’re looking to grow in your role and build exceptional teams, this is a must-read book for you.