How to Hire Great People

Hiring great people is a team effort. Get your team involved. Effective hiring requires some homework.

  1. Determine a need exists and then consider the best way to fill the need:
    • contract individual
    • contract through an agency
    • part time hire
    • full time hire


    There are many factors that go into this decision. Short-term, high risk projects indicate contract work. If the expertise needs to stay in house, then a full time employee makes more sense.

  2. Define the need in a job description. Take a look at the job description I enclosed for a quality assurance analyst.
    • I started off with what I thought a quality assurance analyst should do
    • Then went to my current quality assurance analysits and asked them to fill in other duties they did which I didn't see.
    • Then I went to the quality assurance analysts customers (programmers, field support, help desk_ to find out what they expected from a qulaity assurance analysts..

  3. Determine what skills, education and experience are required for the job. After getting a good job description, think about what's needed to fill it.
  4. Write the advertisement. A good ad will save you from going through a lot of resumes that don't fit.
    • Be concise but complete.
    • Give a reasonable job description
    • Define the skills needed for the job
    • Separate the essential from the desired
    • Don't delegate this task to HR. They probably don't know what you really need
    • Do run the ad by HR
      • They most likely have the recruiting budget, and know how to get ads published
      • They can add the verbiage that will keep you out of legal troubles
      • You should also coordinate with them when they need the copy to make the Sunday paper.

  5. Set a cut-off date for receiving resumes. The cut-off date depends on how difficult it is to recruit for the position and how quickly you need the position filled. For the average position (if there is such a thing), I like to use two weeks after the ad is posted.
  6. Review the resumes.
    • Don't delegate this task to HR without training them. I sit down with the recruiter and evaluate a batch resumes with her. I tell her what I like and don't like about the candidates. Then I can trust her to screen the rest.
    • My staff already helped me draft the job description and requirements so, I circulate the resumes (usually about a dozen "finalists") with a cover sheet to have them put comments on the cover sheet.
    • Typically we will interview about half of these

  7. Schedule the interviews. See my article on attending interviews for various ways of doing interviews.
    • I give my staff verbal and written instructions as shown in the attachments.
    • Use Outlook or some other scheduling software to coordinate available times for the interview.

  8. Conduct the interviews.
    • Know what you need to do to get the information you want out of the candidate.
    • >
    • I use a script to make sure I cover all the key areas.
      • The first things on the script are the "rules" and logistics for the interview. (Who the candidate will see, some orientation on what we are looking for and what the position is).
      • I also have an outline of the questions I'd like to ask the candidate. I don't script every question, but I do have a couple to keep me focused. I will pursue different lines of questioning based on what the candidate says.
      • The last thing on the script is what is left to do: most importantly, what happens next, and when the candidate will hear from me. I specifically invite the candidate to call me directly if I miss my deadline. (I haven't yet).

  9. Review the candidates. After all candidates are interviewed, the staff meets and we usually argue over which two candidates we like best. Then I make the hiring decision.