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Pawel Brodzinski on Software Project Management

Hiring Mistakes

I like recruiting new people to my teams. I boldly think I’m not so bad at that. I admit to a list of hiring mistakes and I’ve seen many more. What I call hiring mistakes? Here are a few categories:

• Toxic. High skills connected with either toxic character or primaballerina habits. Those people look perfectly when you discuss merits during interview, but somehow they’re never team players after all. This is a tough one, because from one perspective the person is very valuable. On the other hand harming team work can never be justified by high skills.

• Theoretician. Read all the books on programming. Knows all the theory. Never written a bigger piece of code for a demanding customer. Quite often (but not always) these are people with university background. Very challenging in discussion but tendency to dig through all theoretically possible methods and lack of practical knowledge frustrates those who work close with him.

• Unable. No skill. No will to learn. No use for a team. Three times no. A dead end.

• No potential. You don’t always look for people with a complete skill set. Sometimes you look for one who will learn all things over time and then will become a fully-blown professional. And sometimes you end up with somebody who doesn’t have potential to achieve that. A dead end as above, but it takes more time to figure it out. Sometimes that’s just wrong career path set by a candidate and she can be moved to a position which would work better for both sides.

• Uncommitted. Good skill set. Good-natured personality. Yet somehow never committed or accountable driving team morale down every time people has to give a bit more from themselves. Can ruin team chemistry and atmosphere.

Do you know more?

in: recruitment, team management

2 comments… add one

  • Craig September 18, 2007, 12:08 am


    As I was reading this I was thinking of a 2 dimensional matrix. On the X axis you plot skill and on the Y axis you plot motivation and people skills.

    Assuming all candiates are not perfct and you have to hire you can then plot people into quadrants and fill your team with your personal preference. Maybe with a balance of technical people and motivated people.

    Cheers for the article.

  • Pawel Brodzinski September 18, 2007, 12:27 am

    Nice idea. Although my preference is to have highly skilled and motivated people. Either one isn’t the an alternative for the other.

    I just try hard to find a candidate who is perfect enough. By the way, you right that finding good people isn’t always feasible in given time. But that’s the subject for another post.

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