Lesson Learned: Bad hires

One of the first and most expensive lessons I had to learn was how to hire good people, and how to recognize bad hires.

Many people want to work as game developers, but being a game developer is hard. It’s also hard to objectively tell who is able to do this kind of work or not. I wasn’t prepared for this, and lost a lot of time and money learning to try to recognize talent, and knowing when to someone cannot do the job, and when it was my own fault the job was not done correctly. The worst example of which was the AI programmer. He missed the contract only his second month in, yet according to him the work was perpetually almost done (and this status continued for the next 9 months). Eventually I came up with a 40 line test sheet, of which all 40 failed. After 3 attempts he got it up to 30 / 40 failed. I eventually redid his work 10,000X faster and working better in about a month. This was a management fault on my end, not recognizing he could not do the work, a desire use the advanced system he was promising, and most of all just being so busy with my own work I wanted to just not think about the AI.

Some people who may work well in an office environment may not work well over the internet. The biggest factor I’ve seen in remote work success is finding someone who likes to ask questions.

I hired several bad outsourcing companies in a desire to save money. Every outsource company will tell you they can do the job, and it’s exciting to hear they can do it for 1/2 to 1/4 the cost. However, you get what you pay for.

Giving candidates objective tests that reflect the work you actually want done helps a lot.

The biggest loss of time and money on this project was bad hires. Reviewing bad work, asking for new work, paying them off, recruiting someone else, etc. I have a good team now but it took a lot of time and money to put the team together.

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