Professionalism: You should maintain a transition file November 9th, 2022
When you change jobs, ideally you’ll have the opportunity to brief your successor directly. But that isn’t always possible: you might get fired or laid off, you might leave for another job without a clear successor named before your last day, you might have to take sudden medical leave, etc. Situations like that will be disruptive, it’s unavoidable, but a transition file will help minimize that disruption.
Performance "Seasons" Are Useless — Use Anniversary Reviews Instead October 25th, 2022
Stop doing performance reviews based on the calendar year. Instead, schedule performance reviews around each person’s individual calendar — a year after they join the team, switch roles, get promoted, etc.
The Intersection of Tenure and Seniority October 20th, 2022
Patterns of short tenure are normal at the beginning of a career, but are more of a red flag in more senior roles. Here’s why.
When Is Short Tenure a Red Flag? October 14th, 2022
A pattern of short tenure – multiple short jobs over a small period of time – can be a red flag, but necessarily. I’ll dig into short tenure in this article. What’s “short”? What’s a “pattern”? When you’re thinking of switching jobs, when and how should your tenure factor into the decision? For hiring managers, when is it reasonable to be concerned about job tenure, and what should we do when we become concerned?
Writing With Copilot October 14th, 2022
On using Copilot as a writing assistant, and my complex feelings about the ethics of doing so.
Is this a parable about software development? October 13th, 2022
You tell me.
Role Title Terminology October 12th, 2022
In my writing about hiring and management, I often talk about role titles – terms like “manager”, “director”, “executive”, and so forth. I’ve found that many readers find the precise definitions of these terms confusing. So here’s a glossary of the terms I use when I’m talking about job titles.
Post-interview recommendations: a case against 'maybe' September 23rd, 2022
If you’re ever an interviewer on a role I’m hiring for, there’s this one thing I’m going to ask you to do that might feel weird. After you conduct that interview, I’m going to ask you to send me a recommendation, and I’m going to insist that the recommendation begins with a very clear “hire” or “no hire”. I won’t accept any form of “maybe”.
Quality Is Systemic September 9th, 2022
Software quality is more the result of a system designed to produce quality, and not so much the result of individual performance. That is: a group of mediocre programmers working with a structure designed to produce quality will produce better software than a group of fantastic programmers working in a system designed with other goals.
Taking notes in interviews August 12th, 2022
Techniques for effective note-taking during interviews.
Panel interviews don't work July 8th, 2022
There’s a Right Way to conduct job interviews: one-on-one, with a single interviewer per interview session. If you need multiple interviewers (you probably do), schedule multiple sessions, each one-on-one. The alternate approach, panel interviews – having multiple interviewers in a session at once – is almost always a bad practice. It increases stress on the candidate, risks measuring the wrong things, and doesn’t lead to better results. Avoid panel interviews: they don’t work.
Checking References: What to do if a reference check goes wrong July 6th, 2022
Most of the time, reference checks go very well: you only turn up information that confirms your decision to hire this candidate. But sometimes — maybe about 10% of the time — the reference will tell you something concerning. Here’s what to do if that happens.
Checking References: How to Check References June 24th, 2022
Part two of my reference check series, covering the nuts and bolts of conducting a reference check. When should you check references? How many? How should you contact references? What questions should you ask?
Checking References: Yes, You Should Check References June 22nd, 2022
Reference checking isn’t optional: it can save you from making a big mistake. Reference checks are your last line of defense against hiring a jerk.
DORA Metrics: the Right Answer to measuring engineering team performance June 17th, 2022
“What metrics should I use to measure my engineering team’s performance?” Believe it not, there is a Right Answer: the so-called DORA metrics.
Making a Compelling Offer — in this economy? June 16th, 2022
An edited transcript of a talk I delivered at the CTOCraft Hiring MiniConf. How do you make a job offer that’ll be accepted when other companies are out there offering candidates over a million dollars?
Mailbag: Dealing With Misalignment While Hiring May 23rd, 2022
Answering a question from a reader: how do you deal with misalignment – arguments about skills, pay, etc. – when hiring?
Professionalism: Honesty is a professional behavior May 19th, 2022
Dishonesty at work is wrong except when it isn’t.
Professionalism: What is “professionalism” and why am I writing about it? April 12th, 2022
I’m starting a new series on professionalism: the set of workplace behaviors that are generally expected at work. These behaviors are largely unspoken, but they do exist: there are consequences for violating them. In this series, I aim to write down some of these rules and explore their implications. Eventually, I hope to have a solid list of what “professional behavior” really means.
Is my advice too mercenary? April 11th, 2022
A criticism of some of my writing is that it’s too mercenary. Some see my advice as coldly calculating, too focused on individual outcomes over collective ones, and implicitly distrustful of others. I think this is fair criticism! It’s not exactly what I’m going for, but it’s a fair reading. However, there’s more to it than that, I want to address it (and defend myself, just a little bit).