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Helping Your Boss Reconsider Lowering Technical Standards When Hiring

Managing Up
Managing Expectations
Hiring
Prioritization

11 June, 2019

Cédric Laruelle
Cédric Laruelle

CTO at NUMA

Cédric Laruelle, VP of engineering at NUMA, discusses the topic of potentially losing a client while searching for the perfect hire to see through a project. He follows up with sound advice on the complicated issue of getting your boss to consider a new hiring process.

Problem

When hiring someone to essentially oversee a project, you want to make sure the candidate you are looking for is adequately experienced for the task at hand. This can often lead to an extensive hiring processes that a growing company may not necessarily have the time for. Sometimes, you may find yourself having a hard call to make between lowering your standards for success and hiring someone quickly or waiting for the perfect person and potentially losing a client before that transpires.

Actions taken

You need to be in alignment with your boss about the type of success you are targeting for this position. You should be open and express your preference concerning the hiring process, while staying focused on saying that your main issue is that you are lost on what your boss is truly asking of you. Work together and define where you want to be at in terms of the success levels you expect from these projects. Keep in mind that you should not try to target total success. Discuss how high you should be aiming with your boss. If the bar is set too high outside of your company's normal competition, the hiring process will take way longer than expected. If you are working on longer projects, I would say it is better to not lose the client in pursuit of an exemplary candidate. My way of thinking would be that if you do not have any client complaints of someone not being technically 'good enough', then it means you are aiming too high. You will therefore need to lower the technical standards.

Lessons learned

  • Creating a defined process will make things way easier to implement. Without this, you will always have the continual feeling of defeat when trying to hire a 100% ideal candidate.
  • When speaking with your superior, you need to bring very factual elements to the table during that discussion and show that there is a balance in everything.

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