When it makes sense to hire for skills, over aptitude

November 11, 2022
Sometimes what I need is a super hero.

When I’m hiring people, I almost always focus on aptitude over skills. All else equal, I’ll take someone with a keen desire and ability to learn new things, over one who can run kubectl in 50 different scenarios from memory.

But there is one exception to this rule.

Sometimes what I need is a super hero. Someone to save the day. Someone who can swoop in, do a job, and be out again.

Usually, these are freelance contracts that last anywhere from a few hours (fix this nasty bug) to a few months (implement this new database system for us).

In such cases, I honestly don’t care about their learning ability. I’m not hiring them to be a long-term, contributing member of the team. I’m hiring them for the skills they already have. And I’m probably paying a lot for those skills (at least on an hourly basis).

Share this

Related Content

People are naturally great

For the vast majority of roles, hiring the "best" is simply a waste of recruitment time and effort.

So when SHOULD you hire?

Only hire after identifying your constraints, and determining that a new person is the likely solution.

Bloated headcount isn't just a Big Tech problem

Musk thought Twitter was bloated with engineers. I expect he's right, because most companies are.