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Hiring Geeks That Fit

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Hiring a person for your team is the single most important decision you can make. It has long-lasting impact, whether you are the manager or a team member. Would you like to learn to hire great people? Not sure how? You need this book.

Great geeks are not the same as skill-based staff. You need to analyze your culture, determine your problems, define the essentials you need in a candidate, and then you’re off and running.

Great geeks adapt their knowledge to your context. One developer or technical manager is not interchangeable with another. Hiring Geeks That Fit takes the guesswork and cost out of hiring.


From the Preface, © 2013 Johanna Rothman:

I first started to hire people in 1979. I was nervous about a developer and almost didn’t hire him. My boss asked what the problem was. “He wants to take eight weeks off every summer!” I was so concerned.

“What’s the problem with that?” my boss asked

“We have so much work to do!” Clearly, I’m the Nervous Nellie here.

“He’ll return refreshed and ready to do great work. He fits with the group. Besides, I take a four-week vacation every year. So does the VP of Engineering. You should try it too, Johanna. You’d be a lot less nervous. Oh, this vacation is a salary negotiation issue. You know how to deal with those.” My boss walked away whistling.

I would have made a terrible mistake and missed out an a wonderful developer. He was a great cultural fit and stayed with the group for years.

Since then, I’ve participated in the hiring of hundreds of technical people over the years, including developers, testers, technical writers, technical support staff, pre- and post-sales applications engineers, consultants, technical leads, and their managers. Since the first version of this book, I’ve consulted with hiring managers and teams to streamline their hiring approach and unwedge their hiring. I have asked about essential versus desirable skills, elimination factors, and most importantly, cultural fit.

We are correct to be concerned about whether candidates fit into our organizations. After all, it seems as if we never have enough of the right people. When the economy is strong, we think we have too few qualified candidates. When the economy is weak, we think we have too many poorly trained applicants. Why is it so difficult to match candidates to our openings?

Hiring great geeks forces us to recognize and match culture; non-technical qualities, preferences and skills; and finally, technical skills. Knowledge workers adapt their knowledge to _your_ specific situation, the context. These technical people, our great geeks, are not just the sum of their technical knowledge; they are the sum of both what they know and how they apply that knowledge to the product.

Interviewing technical people is difficult because we must assess them on how they use their technical skills to benefit the product, how they manage their work, and how they manage their relationships with other people—in our context. It is not easy.

No one is plug-and-play. You need to assess each candidate’s ability to adapt. That ability to adapt knowledge and to innovate makes one developer, tester, project manager, or technical manager different from another. You don’t have the same group as the company down the street. Your geek needs to be different, too. You need to be able to assess the difference among candidates.

This book will provide you the tools to help. If you are a hiring manager or part of a hiring team, this book can:

  • Help you define the problems you have that hiring geeks and/or their managers will help solve.
  • Help you know what you want a candidate to do.
  • Help you hire people who can perform the required work well.
  • Help you screen, evaluate, and hire the right people who fit your organization.
  • Eliminate the wasted time and suffering that result from having to fire people who should not have been hired in the first place.
  • And, save you time, money, and aggravation every time you hire.

Here’s the deal: If you want to hire the right people for your team, this book can help you. Let’s start.


Buy the book on leanpub:

You can also buy this book on Amazon in Kindle and print versions:

And, if you are accustomed to buying my books on the Pragmatic Bookshelf, you can do that with this book. I am thrilled to announce that the Prags are carrying this book in their bookstore. As they say, “This book was written and produced entirely by the author. We are proud to be distributing it.” Thank you.

Would you like to buy from other online distributors? Buy from Smashwords, Kobo, Barnes & Noble (who also have the print book).

You can buy the electronic bundle, All About Jobs: Hiring Geeks That Fit and Manage Your Job Search from leanpub:

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