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The Importance Of Personality In Hiring Good Engineers

Krunal Patel

Senior Leader - Engineering & Architecture at Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

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Problem

"In 2013, I was working as an Engineering Manager at Saama Technologies. My job was to hire engineers for analytics very rapidly. We had a very good deal and we had to deliver. I was under a lot of pressure to hire quickly, so I had a lot of people helping me with sourcing profiles and finding candidates. However, I knew the people we were hiring would be at the company for a long time so I wanted to ensure that we scrutinized the candidates properly in order to hire good engineers."

Actions taken

"I had to hire just 11 people for our team but interviewed around 600. I then shortlisted a few people. While some of them had high salary demands, and others did not communicate very well, I knew that they were really good engineers. I spoke to each of the shortlisted candidates one extra time about more personal aspects rather than technical ones to ensure the personalities of the 11 different people would work well together. Once I was confident of this, I worked with my management to carve out a special budget for good salaries and bonuses. I then sent our offer to each of the candidates and continued talking to them all until they joined the company, as I wanted to reduce the chance of them changing their mind after they had accepted the offer. I was also able to use this time to give them visibility of our work and to keep them energized about the company. Finally, they joined and we all started working together. Looking back, that was the best team my company ever hired. Everybody on the team is great friends and they all gel well together. We delivered a lot of products in high-pressure environments to a high standard."

Lessons learned

"Never take shortcuts when it comes to hiring. You also have to understand more than just the technical capabilities and knowledge of a developer. You also should examine the environment, culture, and personalities in your company and team to determine whether a candidate will be a good match."


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Krunal Patel

Senior Leader - Engineering & Architecture at Chan Zuckerberg Initiative


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