Random Ramblings about stuff I see going on in biotech, internet and the stuff I read.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Hiring and working in industry

I have now hired and re-hired several times for a few positions I have. Some I have written about here, others are for groups that reported in to me transiently (although none have yet moved on, so I have some odd groups reporting to me).

In total, I have hired about 20 people. Of those, I am happy with 15 of them. Not all are "superstars" as some of those positions are lower in needs than others. The other 5, I am totally unhappy with what I did, and I do blame myself for the hire.

I hired people my gut told me not to. They looked good on paper, and I convinced myself that my read of them during an interview was "wrong". Other people were not jumping for joy enthusiastic about the hires and said things like "they will be OK" or "you could do worse". So I hired them. And now, I am having to "move the along", which is the polite way of saying I am documenting their failures to justify asking them to move along involuntarily (i.e. Firing them). This sucks.

Joel Spolsky talks about this, as do a lot of people. As I am obviously smarter than the rest of the world, I decided this didn't apply to me. So I hired people I knew I shouldn't. And they haven't worked out. Who knew... oh right... I did and so did everyone else.

So now I am pushing them out. I hired because "I needed hands and I can't wait". Lets say it takes 3-4 months of concerted effort to get rid of someone. Do I think that I would have got a good person if I had waited 3-4 months longer (Yes)? So, was it worth it? (No)

Now kicking myself.

2 of these people fall in to the ballpark of people that I talked about in the last post. They came expecting the easy job. I am, for many reasons, not the easiest person to work for. They wanted to coast and make good money. I don't let them and they aren't happy. I honestly don't even think they are capable of working hard as there are web sites to look at and people to gossip with and a coffee room to go to.

They came straight from academia. I am not sure what they will do after they leave me, as they have been with me for less than a year. When they finally move on, it will be just over a year. They will have a hard time getting a recommendation (not from me, thanks!). I will guess that they go back to academia, but I will bet that they weren't stellar workers there either. These people will be the people who get talked about, and a bit of the fault lies with me. I shouldn't have hired them and then they wouldn't be in the position I am going to put them in.


Anonymous said...

I wrote about my interview process being dragged out for some time a few posts ago...just heard from them yesterday. They decided to put a "hold" on the position until they hired another person higher up the food chain.

This is the second time i've been flown to an interview, only to subsequently have the company decide to hire no one.

Is this very common, or do i have really bad luck?

yes said...

It is very common to put a hold on a position while they hire above the position. Don't really want the new person walking in to a team they don't like, as then you remove their flexibility.

I will admit to having done this a few times....

Having it happen to you twice is weird- Certainly.

At 3 times, I would think you had moved past weird and in to something else unknown.

The further down the totem pole you are, the more common this is.

Anonymous said...

Dear Dr Yes, many years ago I was in a similar position that you describe, but on the other side. I worked at a big pharma company, having arrived there straight from university. I never thought it would be easy, but the money was good. It didn't work out at all, and after a year I left. The interesting thing is that I also had a gut feeling during the interviews that told me something was wrong. For instance, it was very vague which job they actually wanted to hire me for. I made a carreer switch into patents when I left them, and I never regretted it. My conclusion: don't ignore your gut feelings!