Thoughts from the CTO of Weedmaps and mentor.

Past performance not indicative of future results

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If you’ve spent any time reviewing the outlook of an investment you will recognize this statement. This statement is so that an investment firm can show you how well they’ve done, while protecting themselves from a failure to produce similar results for you. Could we not draw a corollary between hiring and investing?

Hiring is making an investment in human capital, instead of monetary capital. When hiring we tend to review resumes, code samples, and ask questions digging into someones past to see if they are a fit for what is needed. Is this really the best way to make a hiring decision?

Knowing what someones past performance could mean for their future would make you a very wealthy recruiter. Giving someone the chance to show what they are capable is key. Are they capable of working nights and weekends when everyone else is? Are they bought into the processes? Do they contribute the best they can, or are they earning a buck? These are questions we always ask ourselves as hiring managers. These are timeless questions around hiring.

The solution is simple: we don’t know. What we do know is the risk or cost of bringing someone on to a team, giving them a shot and that attempt failing. It is a cost. As hiring managers, you must weigh the potential or upside of that cost. Have they not written a perfect binary sort in their technical interview? Does that fact outweigh their desire to go the extra mile? Does it outweigh their desire to grow and learn how to build the best software with the tools and knowledge they have today?

Give someone a shot at showing you that there are more qualities to a hire then their ability to bend to your interview process. If you give them this shot, you’ll discover a huge trove of amazing people to help build your teams around.

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