I almost lost a potential hire today because of a miscommunication between the designer and the business development team during the negotiation process. But what was intriguing about the episode today was that I never had problems in hiring, and leading a team of designers and engineers. And I think I know why -- I am a Venusian.
When an engineer meets a salesman
Designer R is a designer from Surabaya, Indonesia, who has passed my hiring test and is on the last stage of the employment process. However, because I am not Indonesian and because of my Singaporean bias, I was asked to let a local Indonesian director manage the salary negotiation so I do not overpay.
The director in charge of sales who has historically been a people's person was put in charge of salary negotiation.
What transpired was an episode by which the sales director negotiated the pay package by stating that a fair package will be a market rate. Inevitably, the sales director began comparing. That was when the designer got incredibly insulted and it seemed like I was going to lose a design hire.
The currency for engineers and creatives is respect.
As a programmer, I worship Bill Gates, John Carmack, and Linus Torvards. They were my earliest heroes, and they were god-like programmers first, great businessmen second. They gained success in their career because they were focused on building the best software in their class -- Windows, Doom, and Linux, respectively.
And I will be more than honored to have a chance to talk to them. The same way a programmer or a designer will be more than happy to sit down and get to know you if you are a come to the discussion table decked out with technical achievements. The currency for us engineers and programmers is respect.
It is also why most engineers will choose to work in a company which respects the engineering culture than a place that pays well.
The currency for sales and marketing people's are numbers.
The sales and marketing people are a whole different breed of beast. The medium for sales and marketing people are people, and the result they demand must be quantifiable. It is all about the numbers.
- How much did you pull in?
- What is the conversion rate?
- How much do you make?
- What is the ticket size?
This is why when you talk to a person from the sales or marketing team, the discussion often always lead down a rabbit hole of number comparison.
How to hire a programmer/designer
Get a technical person to talk to them.
- Your offer is a form of signaling of your level of respect for your engineer's worth, so if you are underpaying because you really cannot pay better, tell them. They will respect honesty.
- Do not hire idiots. Cancer spreads.
- Pay well (enough).
How did the story end?
The first thing I did was apologise. Designer R said both Allan (our other designer) and I are good people. So what I did was
- To appeal for Designer R that he was joining me, and I will be the person that he will be in-charge and managing him. Not the sales team.
- To appeal to his senses that moving to Jakarta will not be that expensive
- Bought him a plane ticket to fly him from Surabaya to Jakarta for a face-to-face meeting.
It was all about respect. He will be signing a contract with me come Monday.