There is so much valuable advice packed into this book that it’s difficult to pick a couple of favorite topics. Jason and David provided reasons for hiring well-rounded people instead of those with few outside interests who spend every waking hour at work.
I enjoyed the section detailing how worthless most meetings have become, especially conference calls and how long projects kill enthusiasm, especially small companies.
At 37 Signals, nobody works on a project for more than two weeks. Long projects allow meetings to creep in and milestones to get pushed out. Actual work gets sidelined. I’ve seen this happen over and over.
Take a look at the projects at your company. How many of them have been going on for months yet making essentially no progress? I’ll bet most of them died months ago. Long projects are great for people who enjoy appearing busy.
But the section that made me think the most covered hiring practices. For years, I’ve thought how misleading resumes have become. They tell you very little about how a person will perform or will fit in with your team.
According to Fried and Hansson, if you find two qualified applicants for a job, hire the one possessing better writing skills.
But don’t look to the résumé for help in determining this. Look at the cover letter. Or the applicant’s blog. Ask for an in-person writing sample if you must. Employees who can write well are the creative life-blood of your organization. They can take various thoughts and ideas and organize them into solvable problems and compelling projects.
I’ve hired applicants with impressive resumes only to find out later, they struggled to communicate with clients and colleagues over email. I won’t let that happen again.