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Whom to hire?

After 3 weeks of interview, we have narrowed down to two candidates for a new grad position. Both of them have good enough, but not superb, technical skills. Both of them have good evaluation from previous co-op work term with my company. Both of them seems hard working. One of them is smarter than the other. He works very fast, maybe too fast. He does not think about the solution thoroughly before jumping into the conclusion. He has confidence on herself but sometimes having trouble realizing her own problem. The less smart one has more patient and seems more obedience. You can instruct him to finish the work and he will simply follow the order. Among the interviewers, we have different opinions on whom to hire.

My friend has really bad experience from working with someone has similar character as the smarter candidate. The project was going fine in the beginning, but due to the lack of foresight, it blew up big time close to the end. He spent lots of time to clean up the mess. He was burned pretty bad, so he is hesitate to hire anyone who may turn out being the same. Obviously, my friend’s gut feeling him to reject the the smarter candidate.

On the other hand, I don’t think that is a big problem. I remember I was kind of like that when I first came out of school. It takes time and experience to learn the importance of doing somethings right instead of getting something done quickly. I found it annoying to work with someone who only know how to follow instructions. I think given proper mentoring and guidance, the smarter candidate should turn out to be fine. I found nothing particularily wrong with the less smart candidate, but my gut feeling is the smarter one has more potential.

The idea solution is we come across another candidate who we both like, so we don’t have to limit our choices from these two. We have agreement in rejecting many other unqualified candidates and we sort of have the same idea about the ideal candidate. Somehow, choosing between these two candidates is a tough decision. Maybe we should simply don’t hire both of them. My interview philosophy is better to miss a good person than hiring the wrong person. You will never able to find out how good the good person you missed, but the wrong person will stick around in the company for a long time.

2 comments to Whom to hire?

  • my philosophy is that you can always teach a smart dog new tricks, but you can never teach an ox to be smart. you want someone who can grow and develop in the job, not just do the job as told, right?

  • it depends whether you think short term or long term. training does not come at no cost and it takes time. it’s more cost effective just tell the dumber one follow your order for the short term.

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