Yep, hiring is tiring. Very much so.
Over the past month I've talked over 50 candidates. It's super exciting to have the opportunity to have to grow my team rather significantly in a short period of time but dang, hiring sure is a ton of work. It is draining work. I heard someone say on a This Week in Startups podcast that when it comes to hiring executives you should aim to interview 50 people for 1 role. From my experience 50 is a bit high, although actually not too far off, even when it comes to hiring non-executives. A little over a year ago I spoke with 94 candidates to fill a single position. Looking back it was most definitely worth it because the hire that came out of that ended up being an excellent hire. But dang, talking to 94 candidates was extremely exhausting. It is especially exhausting for an introvert like myself. When it comes to interviewing you're largely asking the same questions over and over again. I hate the repetitive aspect of interviewing but it sort of has to be that way. You want to have a repeatable process (including a set of questions) when interviewing multiple candidates so that you can reasonably compare one candidate to another. You spend anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours talking to a single individual and after all of that if you don't end up hiring the individual you've now wasted your precious time. Sometimes you can screen people out within 5 minutes of talking to them which I always consider to be a victory. I intentionally call my very first conversation with candidate a phone screen and not a phone interview because my goal here is to screen people out as quickly as possible. Sometimes, though, you talk to a candidate that you think is going to be an absolute star on your team... and then eventually his or her true colors come out and say or do something that cause you to yell in your mind "Run the heck away from this candidate!". I had one such experience last week where I thought the conversation was going extremely well and was really impressed by so much of what this candidate had to say... until towards the tail end of the conversation when the candidate ruined the phone screen by accidentally revealing just how unfamiliar he is with Linux. Nope, that's not going to work for a DevOps role, unfortunately. This is the one aspect of hiring that I really hate--that every minute you spend talking to candidates that don't lead to hires is time wasted. I've tried to convince myself that talking to candidates that don't lead to hiring isn't a total waste of my time and that each unsuccessful interview just means that I'm getting closer to finding my person... but I haven't yet been convinced. Perhaps I'm just not very persuasive when talking to myself.
What keeps me motivated, though, is that hiring is easily one of my most important responsibilities. It's arguably my most important responsibility. Sure, everyone is coachable towards excellence. You shouldn't be a manager if you don't believe that in your heart. Having said that, I've learned that coaching great hires is ridiculously WAY easier than coaching bad hires. Actually, downright bad hires are impossible to be coached towards excellence. Great hires become an absolute joy to work with. Bad hires are poisonous to the team. I really enjoy coming to work every day and this is largely because of the team that I've been able to build over the years. Not only do I want to maintain that but I want to continue to build upon that. I make one bad hire and I know it can set us back in a pretty significant way. I've seen the sort of damage that a single bad hire can do to a team. Bad hires are like leeches with very large suckers. They suck the energy and life out of those around them.
Hiring is tiring but it's all worth it in the end when you make the right hires. I gotta tell myself this as I have a very busy week of phone screens and on-site interviews ahead.