SVELC Academy: Always Be Recruiting: How to Win at Hiring in a Tight Market


Welcome to the fifth program of the free monthly Engineering Leadership Academy.

Hosted by the Silicon Valley Engineering Leadership Community, the Engineering Leadership Academy is a new resource for:
• new managers and leads
• individual contributors mulling over what managing/leading might be like
• more seasoned leaders ever focused on improving their skills.

On to tonight's program:

“Always be recruiting.”

Our book on being engineering managers had just been published, with 300 rules of thumb at its core. The interviewer had asked my coauthor and me to call out the most important rule of thumb of all. We’d never discussed it. I’m not sure either of us had thought about it. Yet we both spontaneously called out the same rule of thumb,

“Always be recruiting.”

If he’d asked for a second, we likely would have replied,

“Treat recruiting like a software project.”

And if he’d asked our most important responsibility, we likely would both have named recruiting.

Our book is Managing the Unmanageable: Rules, Tools, and Insights for Managing Software People and Teams, one of the all too few books on managing the people who deliver software. In it, we cover a ton of stuff we didn’t know when we first became managers. And a lot of topics, many of which we didn’t know would be critical to succeeding as managers. Among those topics, a jam-packed chapter on recruiting. Early readers told us they found themselves tearing the chapter out to use separately.

For a responsibility this important, most of us spend all to little time mastering recruiting. We give too little thought to interview questions, candidate resumes, interviewing teams, the care and feeding of recruiters, project managing the recruiting process for success, and what it means to always be recruiting.

We'll focus on those things and more tonight.

SPEAKER: Ron Lichty

Ron Lichty has been managing software development and product organizations for 30 years at companies of all sizes, the most recent seven years as a consulting interim VP Engineering,

Ron’s fifth book, Managing the Unmanageable: Rules, Tools, and Insights for Managing Software People and Teams (, published by Addison Wesley, has been compared by many readers to programming classics The Mythical Man-Month and Peopleware. His video training, Live Lessons: Managing Software People and Teams, is available via O’Reilly’s Safari Bookshelf (

In addition to taking on interim VP Engineering roles (and co-chairing the SV-ELC), he coaches team leads, CTOs and VPEs, and trains leaders and teams in agile effectiveness.


5:15 - 5:30 Networking
5:30 - 6:30 Intro/Presentation
6:30 Networking and light food
7:00 Join the SVELC’s main event
• Leadership Styles For Successful Agile Transformation


Varian Cafeteria, 3130 Hansen Way, Palo Alto, has plentiful parking. If you prefer public transport, it's just a 22-minute walk from CalTrain's California Ave station.