May 31, 2022

The Complete Hiring Arc

I attended "The Complete Hiring Arc" organised by CTO Craft MiniCon for an in-depth session on Hiring Engineers. The sessions were delivered by a fantastic group of Founders, CTOs and Engineering Leaders from renowned industry-leading organisations (see Speakers).

Key Takeaways:
  • Focus on the Meaning and Purpose of Work-Life
    • Help understand how candidates might achieve their role's true purpose and meaning
  • You have one job as an Engineering Leader, Facilitate Chemistry!
    • Get a handle on your funnel metrics!
  • Rewrite Your Job Descriptions
    • Engineering Leaders, pitch the job yourself to set expectations and find the right competency
    • List 3 Must-Haves
    • Add Pre-Screening Questions
    • Change the Title to be Straightforward
    • Prepare Compelling Landing Pages
  • Inclusive Hiring = Best Candidates
    • Grow Your Pool
    • Source Candidates Direct
  • Set Candidates up for Success
    • Transparent Interview Process
    • Minimise Stress
    • Make it Accessible
    • Use Objective Criteria to determine Success
    • Control for biases (Train on Unconscious Biases before Hiring!)
  • Work with the T-Shape Model
    • Must include characteristics, culture-add (not culture-fit) on top of technical skills
    • Technical Skills are the easiest to teach!
  • Look for Culture-Add and NOT Culture-Fit
  • First, figure out what kind of company are you trying to build?
    • Highly Skilled or High Value
    • Lean or Broad
    • Flexible \ T-Shaped or Highly Specialised
    • Central or Distributed Decision Making
    • Remote or Hybrid
    • Flat or Hierarchical
  • Hire-Fast, Fire-Faster
    • Never surprise anyone with a termination; make it transparent and anticipated
  • Make Compelling Job Offers
    • Cash is not EVERYTHING!
  • Priorities on Benefits: Focus on Equal over Equitable
    • Standardised Corporate Benefits
    • Employee \ Team Specific Benefits
    • Sell Company Culture

I captured some of the key points I value, align with, and promote as the speakers delivered them:

Aline Lerner | CEO and Founder of

"Hiring Engineers is the one thing you should micromanage! Obviously, you shouldn't micromanage anything. But if there is one thing, it is hiring engineers, and I hope to convince you that is the case." 

Michal Juhas | Tech Recruiting Consultant:

"If you cannot fill a vacancy, its because your opportunity is not good enough or you're not selling it well enough."

Ola Sitarska | Senior Development Manager @ Shopify:

"I talk about inclusivity; it's the best chance to fill your open roles with the best candidates out there. No matter the gender, ethnicity, socio-economic background, past experience or education. You need the best people in your roles, and you're likely not getting them today as they're either never showing up in your pipeline or never successfully going through it." 

Emma Hopkinson | Chief of Staff at 101 Ways & Laura Tacho | Engineering Leadership Coach and Consulting CTO/VPE:

"When we do tech tests when hiring, it's not about the tech. It's really about how candidates approach that challenge. I'm a fan of take-home exams after you have done a synchronous technical discussion interview stage. So, you have to look at the technical assessment just not just in terms of its standalone, but you have to look at it of what other pieces of technical information are you getting from the candidate at the time that they receive the technical assessment.

Jessica Zwaan | Chief Operating Officer at Whereby:

"Treat culture as a product you build within a marketplace to which every employee subscribes. Employees have this huge, beautiful, vibrant marketplace of different types of cultures and companies that they can go and work for, and yours is just one of them."

Roy Rapoport | Director of Corporate Engineering at Netflix & Zoe Cunningham | Director at Softwire:

"I have a lot of conversations with people outside of Netflix where I get to know them, and I try to sort of see what they're good at and what I can do to help them. So, I think it's quite often been the case that I've found somebody great and, you know, thought that the right role for them would actually not be at Netflix, and then I've made introductions to people outside of Netflix. One of our cultural values here is essentially a pretty hard-nosed. You create the right organisation and the right organisational structure. You find the structure that works for the people you want to have here. So, we tend to shy away from modifying the organisation to make great people fit here. We tend to be relatively focused on what is the right structure for the organisation."

Jacob Kaplan-Moss | Security Consultant, Co-Creator of Django, Engineering Leader:

"You won't be taken seriously if your compensation package isn't at least reasonably competitive. If choosing between more benefits and cash, choose cash, but cash is not everything. Within roughly similar salary ranges, candidates will often choose based on the company that fits them the best. You're showing your culture; you're not telling people what your culture is!"