Hiring Technical Talent: What To Look Out For When Hiring Your First Employee

Photo by Nicole Wolf on Unsplash

We’re living in an era where there is more than one path to gaining freedom and flexibility, though often it takes some trial and error to achieve it. Gregg Goldner is an example of someone who was tired of missing out on important life events and wanted more freedom and flexibility in his career. In the last episode of Build, Gregg shared his journey going from being a school teacher to a software developer. He chose to be a freelance software developer over being a startup founder because he valued honing his craft, coding. This choice meant he’d had to find work and clients who valued his talents. If you’ve haven’t had a chance to check out the episode yet, you can watch it here or listen to it here.

Another approach to gaining more freedom and flexibility is to be your own boss and start your own company. In the beginning, you may choose to do most of the work yourself, but there will come a point in time when you will need to hire someone because you’ve hit the limits of your expertise, or how much work you can realistically do.

While hiring help may seem like a panacea it comes with its own set of challenges. Add in limited time and budget to find a quality hire, and the challenges grow.

I’ll admit that it’s taken me more than a decade to find people I enjoy working with, can rely on, and learn from. I won’t claim that I know how to hire the perfect people every time — frankly, they don’t exist. What I’ve learned over the years is how to come up with the key criteria needed to source talented individuals, suss them out, and help them grow. I’ve tested and tweaked the strategies when hiring people in startups and growth stage companies.

In today’s Build episode, I’ll be sharing these strategies with you. The episode is taken from a live online group coaching call I hosted last year with first-time founders who were hiring technical talent, but the strategies also apply to hiring managers who are looking to fill non-technical roles. Even if you aren’t the person making a hiring decision, it’s a valuable episode to learn how you may be evaluated in the future!

As you watch the episode today, you’ll learn the following:

  • The pre-work you need to do before you start recruiting
  • How to source candidates through your network as well as online and offline channels
  • How to evaluate a candidate’s work history, projects, and references
  • How to vet people who are reliable, can communicate clearly, and will produce high-quality work
  • The difference between vetting a freelancer and a firm — as well as how to avoid the ‘gotcha’ moments that can end up costing you a lot of $$$!

Prefer to listen to the episode?

Listen on iTunes here or listen on Stitcher here.

Want more help recruiting, on-boarding, and retaining talent?

Check out our previous episodes on what to expect from new software engineering hires, how to onboard new software engineers quickly, and how to keep newly hired software engineers motivated. If you’re looking to hire product managers, you’ll find the following episodes on hiring product managers, interviewing them, and training and retaining them helpful. Finally, if you’re looking for UX designers, tune in to our episode on sourcing, vetting, hiring and working with UX designers.

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