Hiring the Right Fit

Hala Al-Adwan

CTO at dotOrg Technology



Hiring the right person is of vital importance for a successful business. My team was only five people when I started it and now we are sixty people working together. Scaling up your team requires some smart hiring decisions. Sometimes evaluating someone's skills and knowledge can be easier than assessing if s/he will blend with your company culture.

Actions taken

Since we don't have internal recruiters, all of my hires came either through relationships or external recruiters. I am quite demanding when it comes to recruiters. I rely on several boutique companies that build profound relationships with their clients. When they introduce a new candidate instead of saying "Here is an interesting person," they would say "Here is a person that is a good fit for your culture." They also corroborate why this person is a good fit and what their skill set is. I usually end up phone screening over 95% of people they recommend. I was initially overwhelmed with interviews until I start pushing it down. You have to identify who on your team is able to well conduct interviews. This may take some time but it will also allow your people to level up their skills. During the first interview, you usually vet a candidate's skills and his/her general demeanor and culture fit. I believe that you can immediately tell if a person is the right fit. Recently, our Director of Engineering told me after phone screening a candidate, "I am not sure about her..." I encourage her to listen to her instinct. The potential hire came for an in-house interview and she turned out not to be a good culture fit for us. Resumes can tell you a great many things if you know how to read them. If a person was a front-end engineer for a short while, then went to DevOps and later next year into product design, while I can appreciate his/her versatility, I will generally favor more focused person. Or if someone has been with a company for six months and claims that s/he redesigned their complete beck-end infrastructure single-handedly, that claim reveals a lot about his/her personality. In addition, I am particularly sensitive to cultural differences. Women of non-Anglo-Saxon background will use the pronoun "we" for things they single-handedly did, unlike white males who will brag how they did it alone. The challenge is to assess how much I is involved and how much we. Women will frequently under represent their work. For example, a woman will have a title Lead and will be with the company for a long time, but her resume will look like she is a junior.

Lessons learned

  • Best recruiters build relationships on both ends. They are familiar with the company, understand its culture and know exactly what the company is looking for, while at the same time they can accurately evaluate skills and general demeanor of a candidate.
  • When hiring, trust your instinct! Over time you will get a feel for it and be able to evaluate the candidate with much ease. However, if you have an awkward feeling and your instinct is telling you that something is not right, most likely something is not right.
  • Resumes can tell you essentially two things: how one has navigated his/her career and how they are trying to present themselves. However, someone experienced enough can decipher a great deal of information about someone's personality from a resume.

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Hala Al-Adwan

CTO at dotOrg Technology

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