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Hiring: Narrowing Your Options Isn't Always Good


Some days I have no idea what I'm going to post. And then someone like Steve sends me an email and there you go--instant blog post. Thanks, Steve. 

This morning Steve (local tech guy with cool startup) sent me a job description for a CTO role. Looks like a great opportunity for the right person. 

This post is my response, edited for context. It's not something up my alley, and I'm enjoying my current gig.

They plan to grow from six engineers to eighteen, and are looking for the right leader. But in the skills section, they say they need a Linux/Unix expert highly proficient in Python. 

Well. That narrows the field substantially. 

So in my nosey way I sent an email. They really aren't looking for a coder with Unix expertise. They need a leader. 

They're really looking for a leader-manager with a bit of vision and the ability to grok a wide range of technologies--enough to see convergence, new paths and opportunities, etc, who can build a team that develops great tech/products in strategic support of the business objectives. 

(Wow that sounded so corporate). 

By including those two requirements,  the exclude people absolutely qualified for the role they really want to fill. 

If you are building the team to eighteen or so (which you should only do after hiring the CTO and have him/her define the teams needed to support your plans), you probably don't want someone up to their arms in Python or walking around Linux.  

Show any just about technologist just about any code in almost any language and they'll know what's going on after a quick primer on syntax. You don't need them to lay any code to be amazing technology leaders. 

So I'm always convinced I'm right, of course. But am I?

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