Newsletter #36: Recruitment Tips, Creating Headspace, Solve For Happy

Andrew Weaver
February 15, 2021
Happy Friday 

Hope all was good in your world this week …

This weeks ‘5 minute tech break’ covers some of the themes that have recently emerged in conversation with users and mentees.
Enjoy the read.
Enjoy the weekend.

The CTO Academy Team

How To Recruit … What Others Think

Recruitment is a regular topic of interest amongst users, so we were interested to read an article on the StackOverFlow website – where they interviewed 4 CTOs about their hiring practices.

Key tips included;
1. Building a great reputation with everyone you interview so that they help spread the word about your business and team [amazing how many companies fail to treat candidates with respect, many of them not even bothering to reply. Don’t they realise the impact that has on the reputation of their business?]
2. Trying to use an efficient process in order to illustrate how your company operates, but eschewing too much bureaucracy. It’s a battle for great talent, the interview process is their first taste of how you operate.
3. How do they converse with non-technologists? Increasingly important to build communication skills, and to understand how to simplify the complicated.
4. How effective tech leaders stay very close to the recruitment process when building a high impact team (and company).

Find the article here.

Recruitment Interviews : Any Doubt = No Doubt

What about the interview process itself?
How do you maximise the chance of finding gold, minimise the risk of hiring a dud?

Once resumes start to flow, we’ve mapped out some thoughts on how we’re managed the interview process;

Open with informal chat (face2face if local, phone screen if not) to discuss company vision, hear what they have to say about themselves, make an assessment of fit;

If both parties want to move forward then Invite the candidate in to meet you and the team, and ideally set up an informal test to measure their knowledge and skills. Try to mix up the test with high level technical and multiple choice, quick fire questions;

Getting the right character is so important that you need to tease out as much as you can about what makes them tick. Get to the bottom of how they operate, what are their non-negotiables when it comes to work, how candid do you feel they are being, what happens in their downtime?;

For later stage candidates and certainly more technical roles, ask them to complete a project after the interview. The project should include issues and challenges aligned to the skills and technology you’re likely to need in the future. Give them the opportunity to ask Qs, dig deeper for information. Watching how they handle the project, is as important as the final result;

Get them to present the result to you and the team. Prime the team in advance about where and how you want them to evaluate the candidate. The candidates ability to communicate and negotiate with the team, is another key pillar for you to assess their fit;

And crucially, don’t feel pressurised to hire. “If there is any doubt. there is no doubt”. There can be  pressure to hire quickly, which is where mistakes are often made.

No matter how detailed the interview process, we all know that not every hire works but, if you have doubts from the beginning, then they almost certainly will fail.

The Art of Encouragement … 100 Favourite Things

Of course there are tons of self help books about positive mindset, staying in the zone etc. etc.  

Those bookshop “self help” shelves groan at the weight of them all, most absolutely rubbish pieces of vanity publishing.

So we hesitate to recommend any in particular but, if push came to shove then you could do worse than grab a copy of The Art of Encouragement : A Simple Guide For Living Life From The Heart.

Life is so busy, work can be all consuming, especially in the 24/7 tech world, that it’s often difficult to switch off and focus on topics other than … ‘the mess that developer just made!’.

To “counteract the brains default negativity bias” the book recommends that you write a list of your 100 favourite things and follow them up …

Go on, do it today. we promise it will help you switch off and perhaps re-connect with things that really matter. Having written them down, commit to doing at least 2 of them this weekend.

I’m off to cycle the Anillo Verde Ciclista around Madrid and carve out time to take my daughter swimming.Love them both. Just 98 more to go.

The Psychological Price of Entrepreneurship

A significant proportion of the CTO Academy community are involved in early stage, fast growth start ups.

We’re in that category ourselves and so we understand the challenges involved in trying to breath life into a new company.

“Ups and Downs” doesn’t even start to explain the emotional roller coaster involved in start up life. And in this world of smoke and mirrors where start ups often have to peddle a constantly upbeat narrative, there can be a price to pay with founders mental health.

Which is why the psychological price that some entrepreneurs can pay is worth a read, whether you’re in a start up or not.“Entrepreneurs have struggled silently. There’s a sense that they can’t talk about it, that it’s a weakness.”

Book of the week … Solve For Happy

Solve for Happy : Engineer Your Path to Joy is a book by Mo Gawdat which, in the description provided says …

“Mo Gawdat, Chief Business Officer at Google’s [X], applies his superior logic and problem solving skills to understand how the brain processes joy and sadness—and then he solves for happy. In 2001 Mo Gawdat realised that despite his incredible success, he was desperately unhappy. A lifelong learner, he attacked the problem as an engineer would: examining all the provable facts and scrupulously applying logic. Eventually, his countless hours of research and science proved successful, and he discovered the equation for happiness”

Can’t sum if up better than that.
There is a You Tube video from Google Talks you can watch alongside.

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