Transcript from the "Hiring & Recruiting" Lesson
>> All right, so we'll do a quick recap, we've covered roadmaps, creating team charter, how to measure impact. Next, like I mentioned, yet at some point in time you will be hiring for your team. Your team is really, really important, you want to have the right people on your team.
[00:00:23] And I can't stress this enough, I think that managers need to be heavily involved in this process. I've been at companies where it's maybe a little more like recruiting does everything. You give input on it, but they're doing a lot of that, that's fine, I think, but you still wanna try and be as involved as much.
[00:00:44] I think it's a partnership between a manager and recruiting and the team, right? The team definitely knows what they need or who are the right people. So the way I think about hiring is like, what are the first steps? This is before I've even written a job description.
[00:01:05] I wanna start to think about what are the skills that the team needs. So I wanna outline the required skills that I think are for the role, outline what experience is required. Maybe it's no experience, maybe it's a new college grad and that's okay for this particular role, maybe I need someone very senior.
[00:01:26] It's important to think about and just really understand how you're setting someone up for success and what they're bringing for the team. And there again, include your team, ask them what skills would they like to see. Maybe it's like you're doing something with GraphQL on the team, and everyone's doing it and kind of knows it, but it's fairly new to the team, no one is the expert in it.
[00:01:48] And they're like, you know what would be really beneficial to up-level our team? Is having someone who has a lot of expertise there, that's cool, like that's something good to hear from your team. You may not get that on the higher, or maybe it's not a prioritized thing, but knowing that is very, very helpful.
[00:02:07] And then, maybe it's similar to the Graph QL comment, what's additive to your team, I think it's really important to take a step back, look at your team, what would be added to your time? And I don't mean necessarily on the technical side, it could be, what's the diversity and make up of your team?
[00:02:26] What are some lived experiences that might help you? When I think about working at Netflix on the Netflix sign-up flows, we were building a lot of experiences worldwide. We're dealing with different payment methods, there's things that I have no idea. I haven't experienced what it's like to live in India, but someone on my team has, and they can definitely provide just things that they didn't even know were helpful at the time.
[00:02:54] And so I think about those types of things too, is like, it's not necessarily a required skill, but it is something that might be a very nice to have, and so I think these are important things to think about. The team dynamics, how's the person gonna fit in the team?
[00:03:10] What's the team culture? What's maybe missing that could maybe up level you in certain areas? Maybe it's communication skills, maybe it's really good written documentation skills. I've definitely had that happen where I've had an engineer who's so passionate about writing documentation and it up-leveled the rest of the team, and so that's additive, that's awesome.
[00:03:34] Maybe it's leadership skills, I think this is an awesome one. Not everyone on the team is gonna want to lead a project or mentor certain things, it's fine. There's make-ups of people, what they wanna do, and you lean on them for the skills that they want. But I absolutely believe as a manager, you are very successful when you have leaders on the team.
[00:03:58] And it doesn't have to be an official title, but it's people that are doing certain things that you can delegate or lean on them, and it's growth opportunities for them as well. Maybe before I dive into the job description, what are some things that you think would be helpful or additive when you're thinking about adding someone to your team?
>> I think I'm just a girl that lived experiences, since I do work in a very niche science field, I've hired people in the past who went to school for things like pre-med and then did coding boot camps. And they have that science background, and that knowledge is something that you can't just replicate, and so that's something that's been really valuable.
>> Yeah, I even like that of the educational side too, because I'm not a believer that as a software engineer you need a CS degree. It definitely helps in many ways, but I've seen people be so successful from self-taught to from a boot camp. And maybe that's bringing different perspectives for your team too, my productivity engineering team creates a lot of tools.
[00:05:05] Maybe it's like just having a different perspective on how a tool is being ingested by someone coming out of a boot camp, so I love that one, that's a great call out.
>> Like remote aspects come into play of time zones or countries or-
>> Yes, how did I miss that one?
[00:05:19] Thank you, yes, remote, absolutely a factor. That's something that for me, I've been at Netflix for a while now, I think it's over eight years, and for a long time we're not remote. And so this is absolutely, I take into a lot of thought into this, now is most of my team is now remote.
[00:05:39] And time zones are a factor, even sometimes I already have someone in that time zone. Is that gonna be a good area where maybe they're the only one on the east coast, so it would be nice to have more people on that same timezone, that's a great call out.
[00:05:55] Also someone with experience working heavily remote, or someone that having experience working open source. There's a lot of these things that can just make your team better and they will uplevel and bring ideas that you may just not have thought of, so good getting back to that lived experience.
[00:06:11] Great call out on the remote, that is something that we need to think a lot more about. Obviously there's been companies for many years that are heavily remote, but being have hybrid or remote, that's a newer thing for companies and so it is really helpful to have that skill set.
>> You might be covering this later, I'm not sure, but I think looking at budgeting constraints, comp guidelines and market conditions is also a factor here where maybe you can't hire on the upper end of comp in the market. But the skills you're expecting are outside of that range, so you need to adjust to say, okay, this is probably gonna be very difficult to find someone in this range with the skill set and setting expectations appropriately around like, how soon do we need to hire?
[00:07:08] How long do we have to find that person? Stuff like that.
>> Absolutely, budget plays heavily into this, these are all factors that can change how you think about it, but also maybe to have that hard conversation with a leader of like, do we need this skill set?
[00:07:22] The budget that I've been provided doesn't help me, I gotta go higher, so you can have that conversation and get ahead of that. Not waiting till the like offer stage and going like I have this great candidate. No, you can't hire them Ryan, or you can't pay them that, you're gonna have to lowball them, that is really helpful to think about.
>> Meg says, we look for complementary skills, if there's five primary skills needed for my team, I don't just look for generalists in all five skills, or all specialists. Some specialists and some generalists.
>> Right, that's a great call out, maybe you have someone who's a CSS expert or an accessibility expert, and that up levels the team, right?
[00:08:10] Definitely you learn from them, and that not honestly that helps your culture too, right? We all wanna learn from one another. Mark.
>> The way that I always describe it personally is, in the early stages of the startup ecosystem, it's like you're looking for generalists. But also you kind of have to play on who is interested in your project, your product and that kind of thing, you can't really say I want this very specific skill.
[00:08:40] It reminds me of professional sports where you have the teams that have huge budgets, so they can be like, I want this person, at this height and this weight and this position exactly. And they can just hire for the very specific and fit the team together with a very specific set of skills.
[00:08:58] Whereas somebody who has less budget has to be more scrappy and kind of focus on, okay, I'm seeing this person's skills aptitude, recognizing that and doing more with less kind of thing. And seeing like, hiring for aptitude more than the specific skillset, because you're not gonna be able to hire exactly the team makeup that you want in the early days, especially.
>> I think even that larger, it's hard to even find that exact specific of height, and obviously we're not hiring for height and stuff like that in software engineering. But yeah, I love that point, and often even sports teams, they have a budget and they can blow it all on one player, that doesn't make it that they're gonna win all the games, maybe.
[00:09:49] But they have to think tactically about how they spend that money and what's the makeup of the team, it's not just one single hire, you have to think more broadly, so I love that.
>> Some coaches really thrive in that kind of very specific, setting up the team in a more specific way, and some coaches thrive in that aptitude space.
>> I'm a big fan of hiring for aptitude, I think I tend to lean more towards that. Obviously there's this core set of skills that you need, but someone who has a lot of aptitude, can learn quickly and they're hungry to learn, those things are awesome. And so, yeah, I'm really glad that Mark called that one out.
>> A lot of things can be taught, domain knowledge and certain skills can be taught. However, culture and attitude and communication skills, sometimes it's harder to teach some of those things.
>> Yeah, absolutely, let's use Mark's analogy on the sports team, it's like you have that superstar, some of them are really nice, some of them are jerks, right?
[00:10:52] Do you want that on your team? Right? But that can really actually, even if you have the top superstar, rock star engineer, whatever all the gross terms that get thrown out there. It doesn't matter if the rest of the team can't perform and work as a team or unit, that's not great.
>> That's why hearing is so tricky on the general versus specialists, it's like you don't want a team involves a project manager or stuff like that. Cuz you already uncovered at that point, and you're like, I love my project manager, and it's cool, but you need to actually do some poll requests.
[00:11:28] But you also don't want a team of nobodies project managing, because then that's on you, and that's wasting time. So hiring is so tricky cuz you really have to understand your team and then what the role is and what's coming in the business. And I'm with you on the hiring for aptitude, you want someone who's adaptable, not someone who's like, yeah, they can do the job today.
[00:11:47] I see so many companies are like, yeah, react specialist versus how do you know what technology you're gonna be using next year. And someone's like, I only do react, which I've seen plenty of times people are like, I only do this, and that's not helpful for me as we grown business with him.
>> Adaptability, yeah, huge. Also, I like, Gem, what you were starting to get at too, and I didn't really put this in here, is thinking about where are we next year, where are we two years from now. And it's hard, it's really hard as a leader to know all those details, but thinking about those things in the makeup of your team is absolutely something you wanna try and do.
[00:12:25] You can get it wrong, but I think thinking about today I absolutely need someone who knows react and we're starving for that maybe, but also are you gonna need that later? Is that still gonna pan out? You wanna think about those things, it might still be I need that hire today.
[00:12:41] But it's just really taking that reflection time, not just like, like I said, it's a partnership with recruiting. Is you can give them a list of skill sets and they're gonna go find you people. Absolutely, but if you can start to have conversations with them, even talking about, well, this would be additive to my team.
[00:13:00] Maybe it is like I don't wanna pick too much on even gender, but software engineering has typically oriented heavier on male versus a female engineer. And maybe you want more of those different perspectives, and so maybe you spend more time looking and sourcing for candidates that you don't have on your team.