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Strategies for hiring managers in 2019, part 4

Ask any hiring manager and they will tell you that sourcing and interviewing candidates — ultimately, building the right team — is one of the most difficult parts of their job. When you have a million other things to do, it might feel like the whole process is burdensome. But across the board, Textio engineers engaged in hiring highlighted related activities as the most important work they do.

So rather than think of it as an “other duty as assigned,” our final strategy to build an outstanding team is to:

Embrace the process

It’s true that hiring takes up a lot of time, but consider this: “Hiring the right people is one of the most important activities for any company — it should take up a lot of your time,” said Engineering Manager, Devin Blais. “A lot of people underestimate how much time hiring takes, which results in trying to cut corners. But the most talented individuals won’t just fall into your lap; you need to put effort into finding them and convincing them to come work with you!”

It’s not just about finding the right person but you also want to avoid the wrong one. “If you avoid hiring someone that isn’t going to work out, that makes a huge impact,” says Engineering Manager Max Winderbaum. “We’ve all been in that scenario of hiring someone who’s not the right fit and it really does mess up the flow of a team.”

But that doesn’t mean you should be looking for a reason NOT to hire someone. Always give candidates the benefit of doubt.

Move beyond a checklist

Instead of just considering whether a candidate ticks off every requirement, to truly embrace the process you have to think holistically. “We build teams around the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, so when we’re hiring we’re looking at how someone will enhance and complement the skills of the overall team (and the set of problems that team can solve) rather than thinking of them as an individual in a vacuum,” said Bobby Kolba, VP of Engineering. “I’ve often said that there’s not a template for a great engineer at Textio — there’s a set of things we all share, but each individual brings a different perspective and set of skills that we can use to solve more and more interesting problems.”

Underscoring this point, Engineering Manager Adam Sanderson added, “When you hire well, there’s a network effect. That person will do good work — and they’ll raise up the people around them.”

Reap the rewards

Hiring may not be easy, but if you learn to do it well, you will create a robust team of people who are versatile, adaptable, and inspired to make your organization a success. Concludes Engineering Manager Olivia Gunton, “It’s more intense, I think, than any other social interaction I have in life. Hiring requires all of my resources, more than anything else I do. The sheer time that it takes to do it right is a huge challenge. I don’t think I’ll ever feel like it’s a piece of cake…but it’s so worth it and so rewarding.”

Read the rest of the series on strategies for hiring managers: 
Part 1: Ensure a great candidate experience
Part 2: Hire for culture add, not just aptitude and experience
Part 3: Never stop learning

Special thanks to Adam Sanderson, Bobby Kolba, Chris Harland, Devin Blais, Josh Clow, Max Winderbaum, Olivia Gunton, and Orion Montoya.

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