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You’re Hired

In my current occupation I infrequently need to hire to replace folks from my team that move on or as a result of net new adds. It is likely my least favorite part of the job but arguably one of the most important to get right. I work in a technical field so experience and education are key to success and I try to hire internally whenever possible. There are a loft of new hire positions throughout the company but we conduct testing on equipment before it leaves campus so exposure to our proprietary hardware and software is a huge advantage.

I’ve had a lifelong drive to improve things and some mild OCD so I easily fell into QA work. My team is among the most respected at the company as they not only need a deep understanding of how everything works and an attention to detail but superior social skills. When your job is to constantly tell other people they messed up a light touch is often necessary and the tact to deliver a diplomatic gut punch when that doesn’t work. Our checks at the end of the line are often backed up against a firm deadline to pack so we can only be patient to a point.

I don’t believe I have any revelations to reviewing job applicants and those that do it more often likely have a better refined process. The portal where I can see who applied has evolved over the years but always shows the basics like name, eligibility for employment, other jobs they’ve applied for at our company, a link to their resume, etc. I usually ignore the list for a week or two and try to back channel suggest the folks I’d like to hire into applying. We aren’t allowed to talk to them directly as it gives the optics we are poaching from other managers but there isn’t anything against asking a mutual 3rd party to casually bring it up in a conversation.

On my first pass I read over everything they have provided and unless they are an obvious pass I’ll write down a couple of sentences with my first impressions. Usually this will make it easy to thin out at least half or more. A second pass with more attention and cross referencing them through a Google search, Linked In, Facebook, etc. will often reinforce my thoughts or allow me to validate removal. Taking into account any new ones that trickle in I will usually ask HR to conduct a high-level questionnaire at this point with some knockout questions. They provide these in a simple document with a summary of their answers and their personal impressions.

At this point the list should be small enough to start scheduling interviews. I always begin with small talk then transition into an overview of the job, and your standard creative thinking questions ending with an open forum allowing them to pitch their case. Like them I had to go through job interviews to get where I am at so I have a lot of sympathy and try to keep the experience light, there will be plenty of stress later. If I like them I’ll look for mutual friends or coworkers to get some insider info. Anyone still on the list at this point will be mentioned to my Director and his opinion has some obvious weight. Usually he will want to be involved in this next round of interviews and will weed a few out himself.

By the time we are ready to make an offer we need to factor in their education and experience to arrive at mutually acceptable number. After the interactions we’ve had up till this point the final negotiations normally goes smoothly and we get the paperwork into HR with the goal of getting them onboarded as soon as possible.

The new hire will then have a steep learning curve and spend time with the company trainers if an outside hire to get the fundamentals, walk through a few projects with me and the existing staff and be assigned some online training courses. It takes a few months before they are able to operate on their own and a couple of years to be truly efficient at their job.

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