Hiring For The Team

Image is from Kontra coffee in Copenhagen with my reflection, they are showing off their World Barista Championship trophies

hiring the right engineers has always been a challenge. Do you hiring the best technical person but his personality may not fit well in the team? Do you hire someone who can learn quickly but is more junior and ‘green’? Do you hire someone adequate for the job, not much passion but can get the task done? Or do you keep on holding out and look for that perfect candidate who has the passion for the job, has the basic skills and can learn quickly?

I always try to ask the single question of myself and the hiring team:

1) What does this person bring to the team to make the team better? He has to have a unique skill, a personality trait.

It’s all about the team dynamics and chemistry. I read somewhere recently that the failure of the US Dream Team in basketball is the assumption that bring all the best players together will give you the perfect team to win. Time and time again this has proven to be wrong.


Very difficult question. It turns out that there is no right answer and it has to vary based on the situation, existing team, and requirements.

If you need a proven leader, then hiring a green college grad is a mistake. If you need code cranked out, then hiring a phd researcher might not be the right choice.

It all comes down to determining your needs, writing the job description accurately, then filling the position with the best available candidate you can attract.

For more evidence that the Dream Team concept not working, take a look at the 2001-2006 New York Yankees. In 2006, they spent $200MM on their payroll and don’t have the pennant to show for it. All 9 of the starting Yankees were All-Stars at one time or another, yet they lost in the ALDS to a Detroit Tigers team that lose 119 games just 3 short years ago.