Why a Strong Work Ethic Matters in Hiring Engineers
March 31, 2023
Hiring is one of the most critical decisions a company can make. A good hire can lead to a positive impact on the organization, while a bad hire can cause harm. Hence, companies invest a lot of time and resources in the hiring process to find the perfect candidate. However, sometimes even the most rigorous interviewing process can fail to identify a good engineer.
It's essential to keep in mind that not hiring someone doesn't necessarily mean that the candidate is not a good engineer. Additionally, it doesn't imply that the candidate lacks a strong work ethic. Unfortunately, it is difficult to determine the latter during the interview process. While technical skills can be tested during interviews, a candidate's work ethic can only be determined through experience or reference checks.
During interviews, too much emphasis is placed on technical skills, and the whiteboard problem has become a ubiquitous aspect of the interview process. However, the ability to solve a problem on a whiteboard doesn't always correlate with the ability to solve real-world problems. Candidates may be nervous or unaccustomed to the environment and underperform during the interview, leading to them being overlooked despite their potential.
It's crucial not to ignore other signals during the hiring process. These signals can be identified through the candidate's behavior, background, and personality. For example, a candidate who has worked on many different types of projects has more experience than someone who has only worked on a specific technology. Someone who has successfully worked on complex projects and delivered them on time is more valuable than someone who has only worked on small, straightforward projects.
A strong work ethic is a vital characteristic of a good engineer. Good engineers are passionate about their craft and are always striving to learn more. They take ownership of their work and are accountable for the results. They are committed to delivering high-quality work and continuously seek ways to improve their skills. While it's challenging to measure this trait during the interview process, it's critical to identify it as soon as possible when working with someone on your team.
In conclusion, hiring a good engineer is not an easy task. The interviewing process can be rigorous, but it's essential not to overestimate the whiteboard and underestimate other signals. Hiring managers should keep an open mind and take the time to identify a candidate's strengths and weaknesses. They should also be willing to give candidates a chance and recognize that someone who struggles during an interview may still be an excellent engineer. A good engineer is more than just technical skills; it's a combination of experience, work ethic, and passion for the craft. By keeping this in mind, you can hire the best candidates for your team and create a positive impact on your organization.