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Unformatted text preview: ll often pass on candidates who, narrowly defined, are the “best” at their chosen
Of course it’s not quite enough to say that a candidate
should collaborate well—we also refer to the same four
metrics that we rely on when evaluating each other to evaluate potential employees (See “Stack ranking,” on page 27) . V AL V E I S G RO W I N G Fig. 5-2 We value “T-shaped” people.
That is, people who are both generalists (highly skilled at
a broad set of valuable things—the top of the T) and also
experts (among the best in their field within a narrow discipline—the vertical leg of the T).
This recipe is important for success at Valve. We often
have to pass on people who are very strong generalists without expertise, or vice versa. An expert who is too narrow has
difficulty collaborating. A generalist who doesn’t go deep
enough in a single area ends up on the margins, not really
contributing as an individual. We’re looking for people stronger than ourselves.
When unchecked, people have a tendency to hire others
who are lower-powered than themselves. The questions
listed above are designed to help ensure that we don’t
start hiring people who are useful but not as powerful
as we are. We should hire people more capable than
ourselves, not less.
In some ways, hiring lower-powered people is a natural
response to having so much work to get done. In these
conditions, hiring someone who is at least capable seems
(in the short term) to be smarter than not hiring anyone at
all. But that’s actually a huge mistake. We can always bring – 46 – – 47 – VALVE: H ANDBO O K FO R NEW EMP LO YEES on temporary/contract help to get us through tough spots,
but we should never lower the hiring bar. The other reason
people start to hire “downhill” is a political one. At most
organizations, it’s beneficial to have an army of people
doing your bidding. At Valve, though, it’s not. You’d
damage the company and saddle yourself with a broken
organization. Good times!
Hiring is fundamentally the same across all disciplines.
There are not different sets of rules or criteria for engineers, artists, animators, and accountants. Some details are
different—like, artists and writers show us some of their
work before coming in for an interview. But the actual
interview process is fundamentally the same no matter who
we’re talking to.
“With the bar this high, would I be hired today?” That’s
a good question. The answer might be no, but that’s actually awesome for us, and we should all celebrate if it’s true
because it means we’re growing correctly. As long as you’re
continuing to be valuable and having fun, it’s a moot
point, really. – 48 – V AL V E I S G RO W I N G ================================================== Q: If all this stuff has worked well for us, why doesn’t every company
work this way?
A: Well, it’s really hard. Mainly because, from day one, it requires a
commitment to hiring in a way that’s very different from the way most
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This document was uploaded on 03/03/2014.
- Fall '14