The Art of Hiring to Build a Team

Hiring the right people is one of the most challenging parts of the work environment. I was fortunate enough to be part of an agile team in 1988, at the age of 22, which hired by consensus. Since then and for the last 20+ years I’ve been heavily involved in finding and hiring people. Hazarding a guess, I’ve read 3,000+ resumes and probably interviewed about 500 people.

My roles have included vetting out executive leaders, hiring peers on a team, team members for groups I managed, found countless people for others and even hired my own boss twice. Thankfully, many of these hires have turned out to be great contributors and, selfishly speaking, I’ve both learned a lot working with them and have come to count many of them as friends.

Building teams is undoubtedly a complex problem, multi-faceted in dissimilar topics from project goals, team personalities, to skill sets and roles. Individual hires are also influenced by organizational culture in which they must operate, the customers for whom work is being performed or even the market which is being targeted for a software product. Over the years, I’ve come to see hiring as a set of several kinds of activities; part planning, part archeology, part detective work, add a bit of marketing and let’s not forget the sales skill of closing a deal.

The following presentation shares the perspective and approach I’ve come to use in successfully working through the team building process. Some of these ideas are my own and many are learned from the best of what others had to offer. As with any presentation, the voice over is more valuable than the talking points, but the presentation does provide a sense of the key factors …

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