Friday, May 11, 2007

Referrals Make All the Difference

I mentioned in one of my early posts that I was having difficulties in finding good Java candidates for openings that I am trying to fill. I finally struck gold yesterday after seven months of sifting through resumes, phone interviews, and face to face interviews. The difference? The person we interviewed was a referral from a former employee of our department.

Over the last four and a half years of hiring people, I've found that starting with a known quantity makes a tremendous difference in the quality of candidate that you get. Most people value their reputation enough that they are not going to give you a resume for someone who is a poor performer. Whether it is someone that they know from school or that they have worked with in the past, you start out a significant way toward finding a match.

Having a built in reference check is a plus too. I have done some pretty extensive research on referral candidates with the people who refer them, and it makes a huge difference in your confidence in your hiring decision. I have only had one referral that did not work out long term, and that was when a guy left to join a start up company that formed shortly after he started working on my team.

That's not to say that you can't find good people without referrals. It's just a lot easier to start with a known quantity and go from there.

Until next time...

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