I tried to go too fast when building my engineering team

Krishna Vemuri

Sr. Engineering Manager at Townsquared



"I inherited a team and had to grow it. I had no experience with this, but decided to move quickly, in order to work more rapidly on bigger projects. I asked someone in the team to screen the resumes and to select the best ones. We then invited the selected candidates for a 3-hour interview session."

Actions taken

"I had a strong opinion about which candidates we should hire, and even when some people in my team reported some red flags about those candidates (e.g. a lack of experience, or the candidate not being a good cultural fit), I made them offers. In total, we hired four candidates, in a very short period of time. It turned out that two out of the four hires were mismatched for the company.

  • One of them said he was a senior engineer, but he was very focused on the short-term and didn't care about the design of the product.
  • The other one turned out to be more interested in understanding the business processes than in coding what he was asked to by the product manager. He'd often pretend that things were not technically feasible.

I spent a lot of time trying to solve their issues, but these guys were not good fits and the rest of the team became fed up, so I ended up letting them go. When I told my manager that I needed to replace these two hires, he questioned how I could prove I wouldn't make the mistake again. I'd learned from my mistake, so replied that this time I would hire more slowly and listen to my team's feedback."

Lessons learned

"I had been over-confident that I could make things work, and had not taken my team's comments into account in the recruitment process. Because of my lack of experience, I tried to hire as soon as possible, instead of hiring the right people. When it comes to hiring, I now know that you should go in with a mindset that things will take time. What's more, it is essential to leverage your team's knowledge in the hiring process, as they will be the ones working on a daily basis with the future hire."

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Krishna Vemuri

Sr. Engineering Manager at Townsquared

Leadership DevelopmentCommunicationOrganizational StrategyDecision MakingCulture DevelopmentEngineering ManagementPerformance ReviewsFeedback TechniquesCareer GrowthCareer Progression

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