Hire to Train

Here’s the good news: The new, bigger role of learning allows you to save money in hiring. When I launched my first company in 2008, one of my first hires was a CTO. I chose an experienced developer who was in huge demand and was an expensive hire.

I also hired an entry-level employee who demonstrated enormous potential and ambition, although he had only rudimentary development skills. I made him the CTO’s protégé, and had the CTO spend time teaching and evaluating him. It meant giving up between one-quarter and one-third of the CTO’s productivity, but this time was being used as an investment in my future talent. Eventually, the CTO moved on and the protégé took over as the lead developer. Grateful for the opportunity and all we had done for him, he stayed for years, even though he could have made more money elsewhere.

I’ve used this system for hiring in general. I regularly hired people right out of college, as well as people who were looking to pivot from an existing career and, although they still needed to learn fundamentals, had a good base of core skills and the ambition to learn.

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