Back to resources

Hiring the Right Staff and Knowing Who the Right Staff is

Firing
Feedback
Hiring
Performance

28 May, 2021

John Skinner
John Skinner

CTO / CEO at RSI

John Skinner, Chief Technology Officer at RSI, shares the importance of hiring the right staff, who would pay you back by their contribution and enhance workplace culture.

Problem

Who wants to hire the wrong staff? Unfortunately, I have had a couple of times in my career, where I came across a highly brilliant technologist, who was a not-so-likable character. Nobody wants to work with someone like that. However, this person knows our software and domain so well that we cannot get rid of the person. Besides, his coding skills are God-gifted. They would do twice the amount of coding, but nobody wants them around. In that case, understanding that you need to devote yourself to ingenuity, but you also have to have the attitude. After all, no one likes conflict, but if I had let that fester, I might have lost a few good engineers.

Actions taken

Talk to The Person

First things first, instead of poisoning the well, I talked to the person who was creating all the issues; and by talking, I did not have the two-minute conversation. I realized that too many times, we try to tip-toe around issues to avoid conflict. However, in this case, I had to walk in their shoes for a little bit of exposure. I had to understand if it was a deep-rooted problem or a temporary one, and talk to them about the change that they needed to make from their end.

Structure Hiring Outcome

I needed to get everyone on the same page. I made sure there was a strong technical interview process for future candidates, where everyone goes through the same process. Structuring interviews with a systematic approach allowed for a smoother process and better distribution of information among teammates and managers. We all needed to communicate well enough to narrow down on something that everyone agrees to.

1-1s for Employee Engagement

At the end of the day, I did plenty of one-on-ones, but I also skipped levels while doing so. I did have managers taking care of a team, but I would still go and talk to individual developers and designers. The whole purpose of this is to understand how your team members feel about work and their team overall. If you do not hear them, who will? Create a good environment where everyone can share freely, and you can resolve issues.

Act Quickly

I have learned over the years that aptitude can be taught, but attitude can not. If after speaking with the person and working through the issues, the behavior continues, it is best to remove the person quickly. Festering of a poor attitude or lack of playing well in the team can lead to disastrous results in morale.

Lessons learned

  • Addressing problems quickly is essential in developing and maintaining a great team. It took a little bit of time for me, but never be afraid to talk to your team members about something that has arisen, which might be causing problems for everyone.
  • Point out unacceptable behavior or arrogance before it becomes too problematic. Evidently, it interferes with others who are trying to complete their duty.
  • Take remedial action. If you suspect that your team members need training, get them training. If they need help, go ahead and help them. Please get to know your team members as a person so that their problem becomes clear to you.

Discover Plato

Scale your coaching effort for your engineering and product teams
Develop yourself to become a stronger engineering / product leader


Related stories

How to Maximize Employee Retention in Engineering Teams

25 May

Vimal Patel, Founder and CTO at iMORPHr, shares how he retained all of his employees since beginning his software development company in 2019.

Building A Team
Company Culture
Hiring
Retention
Psychological Safety
Vimal Patel

Vimal Patel

Director of Engineering at iMORPHr

Hiring a Data Team With a Stubborn Manager

24 May

Liz Henderson, an Executive consultant at Capgemini, shares her experience hiring a data team with a manager who was difficult to work with.

Managing Up
Building A Team
Conflict Solving
Hiring
Data Team
Liz Henderson

Liz Henderson

Executive consultant at Capgemini

Managing Culturally Diverse Remote Teams

11 May

Tom Hill, Engineering Manager at Globality, Inc., shares how he works with a culturally diverse team based within a thirteen-hour time gap.

Scaling Team
Handling Promotion
Remote
Onboarding
Hiring
Cultural Differences
Tom Hill

Tom Hill

Engineering Manager at Torii

A Look Into the Hiring Pipeline: How to Fine Tune the Interviewing Process

9 May

Sourabh Sahay, Engineering Manager at Meta, discusses how talent acquisition can be made more efficient by refining the hiring processes.

Alignment
Different Skillsets
Building A Team
Hiring
Fairness
Sourabh Sahay

Sourabh Sahay

Engineering Manager at Meta (Facebook, Oculus, & Family of Apps)

How to Foster and Reinforce Your Company Culture

25 April

Alex Bekker, Former VPE at Cresta and HackerOne, shines a light on how to preserve company culture throughout a growth phase and shares actionable insights on reinforcing your core values.

Mission / Vision / Charter
Company Culture
Meetings
Sharing The Vision
Performance
Alex Bekker

Alex Bekker

ex VP of Engineering at Cresta

You're a great engineer.
Become a great engineering leader.

Plato (platohq.com) is the world's biggest mentorship platform for engineering managers & product managers. We've curated a community of mentors who are the tech industry's best engineering & product leaders from companies like Facebook, Lyft, Slack, Airbnb, Gusto, and more.