Why do some teams seem to be able to grow and sustain growth over time while others can't seem to hire for their team?

As a VP of Engineering, I've seen how 50+ managers approach hiring for their teams.

Here are two things that make the job harder and prevent managers from staffing their teams:

1. Only hire senior people

When teams are very busy, or managers feel overloaded, they think they need to hire senior people. They say things like:

  • We need people who can take work off the team
  • We can't afford to train a junior member

And then what happens?

These positions take more effort to hire. There is also an internal competition to have them prioritized among others teams. This might lead to having those positions open for a long time or never being prioritized enough by the talent acquisition team.

2. They want to hire two or more roles in a single person

Stream-aligned teams need generalists with many skills to deliver value to customers, but rather than hiring for one of the skills and having the person develop the rest, some managers attempt to hire people with more than one role.

  • A developer who is also great a testing/quality assurance.
  • A product manager who is also a great designer.
  • A quality engineer who also works with infrastructure or CICD tools.

Some teams have an unnecessarily high hiring bar, which reduces the pool of available candidates to a small fraction.

Matias Lespiau

Matias Lespiau

Madrid, Spain