Forget Skills, Hire for Potential.

Part 2 of 4 : Recruiting for Tech In Chicago

Everyone is looking for the person that they can take on to their team, hit the ground running and go to the next level. Who wouldn’t? If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Great companies are built on hard work and dedication, and that starts with hiring the right people not the right resume. If all you have is your vision it’s nothing until you surround yourself with the right people. Anyone can think of great ideas, but a leader is only a leader when they get their first follower. Hire for character and not skills.  


Hire on potential not credentials

The question is: when you hire, do you look at people that have done it before or people that have the potential to do it better? Hiring will always be a risk, why not take a chance hoping you’ll get an even better return. Hiring another company’s prized engineer will take some serious courting, so just develop your own.

Less-established employees have room for growth

They are fresh and eager, not fatigued or scarred. There’s literally no ceiling for them and they’ll look at your business as “their” business. They don’t develop the “employee mentality” until much later in their career.

They have no bad habits to break; only good habits to learn. 

You don’t have to un-train them on the paradigms they’ve put in place somewhere else. They can blossom into anything.

They have the right attitude.

With attitude, as they say, the aptitude will come. Attitude is everything.

New blood, whether young or old, can bring fresh ideas and perspectives to old problems. 

Their enthusiasm can be infectious. Their naiveté is some of the gold that they bring. They’re not afraid to ask, “Why do you do it this way?” From the most innocent questions, we may go back to our roots and say, “That’s a good point. Why do we do that?” The newest employee may be the one who prompts a positive change.

Hire someone with enough skills to build on. 

In a perfect world we’d all hire people with no experience and just give them everything. The truth is that we’re not always in the perfect world and we need someone to be effective sooner rather than later. Hire people with enough skills to be productive but give them something more than money. Give them the opportunity to learn new technologies – after all, isn’t that why we’re in technology? The technologist in us will always be curious as to what’s new out there, it’s in our blood. 

You can build lifelong relationships.

Some employees are young; some are older. But when your company is in the place that allows an employee to blossom and shine, they will love working with you, most likely forever.  Thus, turnover is low.

The hardest part is to get into the right mentality, now that you’re (hopefully) there. It’s time to put the word out there.

  • If you have a technology stack, put that in there, but don’t make it seem like you need them to have everything.
  • Cast a wide net – a job description itself will never find your next developer… you will! So don’t be lazy and cut corners.
  • You screen people – not the candidate.
  • Send your job description to colleagues in the industry that have strong networks.
  • If you have the capital to use a recruiter, be selective and don’t use everyone. Do your research.
  • Talk to everyone – you never know who will impress you.
  • Interviewing makes you more aware of what you’re looking for and measure it on what’s available.
  • Redo the job description after interviewing 5 people.

Author: Tim Yandel

I'm Tim. I live in Cole Valley, San Francisco with my wife, Julie, and two daughters Addie and Audra. I tend to write a bunch about leading Sales teams, since that's what I've been doing since 2006. I'm particularly drawn to the psychology of selling, whether that be how people buy things or sell things, it's fascinating how decision-making is centered into the core of who you are as a person. I enjoy cultivating a culture centered around mastery of your craft and a genuine passion for winning together. Outside of professional learnings, I enjoy listening to epic sci-fi and fantasy books while I run long distances to decompress and obsessed with watching my two girls grow. For a good ice breaker, ask me about my Golden Retriever and my Bernese Mountain Dog.

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