Excitement – best guide during recruitment

If you can’t decide always choose a more excited candidate. You can learn or improve skills, but you can’t learn to be excited about the job. For me, this emotional state is an indicator of a great fit between your offer and a candidate.

Humans are emotional beings, and thanks to our irrationality we can withstand all odds, perform in a stressful situation and overcome challenging situations. And nearly always job requires more work than we thought at the start. You need to have the energy to go through obstacles that will be on your way.

During my endeavours in the startup world, it was obvious after a moment if somebody believed in their idea, or not. Engaged founders were bursting with energy, and if they were doing it right you also get infected with their excitement.

You can do impossible with people like this on your board.

Companies should not rely on heroes

I see a lot of companies competing for top talent, and thinking about it as the silver bullet for their growth. It is a romantic vision promoted by histories of startup founders. Relying on recruiting top people as a key for the company makes growth unreliable. It is risky long term strategy.

Think about McDonald’s or Starbucks. You don’t have a favourite waiter or barista there. You go there because the experience will be nearly the same everywhere you go. This, a great experience every time, should be your goal as a director or manager

Outstanding employers will help, but there should be amazing processes in place which will make mistakes virtually impossible. Look where employees need to act like heroes to deliver – you need to fix process there.

Building remote relationships

I have a fantastic opportunity to work with San Francisco startup as a lead manager for the whole software development team located in Warsaw, Poland. During the last 17 months. I was able to create a great working (and not only) relationship with my US partners. It didn’t come a natural way, as building trust remotely isn’t anything that you can learn at school.

There are my key learnings:

  • Video calls are critical. Thanks to them you put a real face on your Slack or Jira profile. Also, take in mind that you shouldn’t expect an unprepared video call – you need to prepare for them beforehand.
  • Schedule short calls often. I found out two calls per week (Tuesday & Thursday) being the sweet spot. You can discuss most of the issues, and have time for chit-chat. Just one call weekly doesn’t give you opportunity to discuss no-critical stuff.
  • Don’t leave your partner hanging. Prepare yourself for late Slack messages, but respect your boundaries. Your business partner will be grateful even for information that you read his/her message, and you will work on it the next day.
  • Show them that they are in control and confirm things. This is counterintuitive as you might think that the client would want to maximise developers output, but I found that this isn’t the case. From what I saw the most infuriating for a customer is not being able to influence a remote team. Don’t let that happen. It is rare that something can’t wait one day in software development.
  • Show not write complex features. One of the major challenges that we have with more challenging tasks is to be on the same page with the customer. Forgetting some small details during a conversation or description is easy. To understand each other use drawings mocks of functionality in Excel, videos from features in other apps, and whatever will show a real life example what need to be done.
  • Don’t be afraid to talk not only about the job. You don’t know what she or he is wearing from the waist down, but you need to decide what should be in the new important product release. Try to change that, by treating this calls an opportunity to present who you are & who your business partner is.

I hope you will find it helpful.