Hiring the Best Does Matter

Sometimes, I work with managers who can’t tell the differences between technical people. They seem to think all developers (or testers or project managers or whomever) are equivalent. If you’ve ever tried to make the case for hiring the best people, read Joel Spolsky’s Hitting the High Notes.

Spolsky says

… duplication of software is free. That means that the cost of programmers is spread out over all the copies of the software you sell. With software, you can improve quality without adding to the incremental cost of each unit sold.Essentially, design adds value faster than it adds cost.

Note that Joel says later in the article,

The quality of the work and the amount of time spent are simply uncorrelated.

Some people work faster than others. But the really great people will have great ideas and work at (overall) similar paces. And, what’s more important, the quality of their work is head-and-shoulders above the rest.So think hard before you let your standards down and hire the next-best, or the third-best. It will cost you time and money.

4 Replies to “Hiring the Best Does Matter”

  1. It’s definitely true. I know quite a few people in fredericksburg, virginia who “as work” they put in 40 hours a week on yahoo cards…
    Of course, the guy doing it has a master’s degree, but then again his boss isn’t concerned about if he does anything, he got rid of the guy down the hall in front of his office who actually ran the network… đŸ˜›

  2. You should also fire the best to keep your corporate finances in check. ECPI College of Technology and their other branch ECPI Technical College of Moorefield Park, Richmond, Virginia do this every six months.
    At a recent stand up in Virginia Beach, Virginia at their corporate headquarters ECPI asked for a show of hands from employees who had been there over ten years. Out of 400 employees, only two had their hands raised…

  3. I’ve just about given up on the recruiters here in Richmond and Glen Allen. To start with, they’re not recruiters, they’re contractors — the correct term I believe — and secondly, they’re contracting for a token number of employers in the local area, which means that they only hire OUT of the local area, not inside.
    After numerous changes and ad infinitum renditions to my resume and a few quick phone calls to find out why my resume just isn’t getting through, I’m finding that 100% of time my resume is regarded as “very good” but it’s also getting blocked at the gatekeeping door of the recruiter contractor 100% of the time…
    I give up…Guess it’s back to the old job I used to have with a whole bunch of news skills — everything from multiple degrees to technical writing to network engineering and AutoCAD experience…all completely useless…

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