Our Blog Excerpts Savings Contact


Dorset House Publishing
High-Quality Books on Software Engineering and Management.  Since 1984.
dorsethouse.com > titles


iDH Sign-Up

Get Our e-News
Delivered by FeedBurner

Hiring the Best Knowledge Workers, Techies & Nerds:
The Secrets & Science of Hiring Technical People

by Johanna Rothman
foreword by Gerald M. Weinberg

ISBN: 978-0-932633-59-0  
©2004  352 pages   softcover  
$37.95 (plus shipping)

Subject(s): Software Project Management, Team Management, Team Leadership

*For UPS Ground within U.S. only.
For more info., or for Int.'l or rush orders, click here.

Rate this

This Title Is Now Also Available as an
eBook -- Click Here to Order

Proven Methods to Attracting, Interviewing, and
Hiring Technical Workers

About the Book

Good technical people are the foundation on which successful high technology organizations are built. Establishing a good process for hiring such workers is essential. Unfortunately, the generic methods so often used for hiring skill-based staff, who can apply standardized methods to almost any situation, are of little use to those charged with the task of hiring technical people.

Unlike skill-based workers, technical people typically do not have access to cookie-cutter solutions to their problems. They need to adapt to any situation that arises, using their knowledge in new and creative ways to solve the problem at hand. As a result, one developer, tester, or technical manager is not interchangeable with another. This makes hiring technical people one of the most critical and difficult processes a technical manager can undertake.

Hiring the Best Knowledge Workers, Techies & Nerds: The Secrets & Science of Hiring Technical People takes the guesswork out of hiring and diminishes the risk of costly hiring mistakes. With the aid of step-by-step descriptions and detailed examples, you'll learn how to

  • write a concise, targeted job description
  • source candidates
  • develop ads for mixed media
  • review résumés quickly to determine Yes, No, or Maybe candidates
  • develop intelligent, nondiscriminatory, interview techniques
  • create fool-proof phone-screens
  • check references with a view to reading between the lines
  • extend an offer that will attract a win-win acceptance or tender a gentle-but-decisive rejection
  • and more

An effective hiring process is crucial to saving an organization the costs and consequences of a bad hiring decision. Not only is a bad hire costly in terms of recruiting expenses and the time spent hiring, it can also bog down or derail projects that may already be running late.

You, your team, and your organization will live with the long-term consequences of your hiring decision. Investing time in developing a hiring strategy will shorten your decision time and the ramp-up time needed for each new hire.

Technical leaders, project and program managers, and anyone putting together a team of technical workers will greatly benefit from this book.

Insights from the Book

"Hiring knowledge workers, such as technical people, is different from hiring purely skill-based staff. Knowledge workers are not just the sum of their technical knowledge; they are the sum of their technical knowledge and the way in which they apply that knowledge to the product. The method with which they apply their knowledge is determined by how they use their technical skills for the product, how they manage their work, and how they manage their relationships with other people. Skill-based staff members have a set of skills they can apply the same way in almost all situations. Knowledge workers must adapt their knowledge to the situation."

—from the Preface


"It's not enough to hire 'good enough' . . . you need to hire the best, and nobody knows more than Johanna Rothman about that. This clear and comprehensive book joins Peopleware and The Mythical Man Month as must-reads for technical managers."

—Joel Spolsky
Founder, Fog Creek Software

"The days when herds of wild nerds roamed free in the Silicon Forest appear to be over. They still roam, but few employers are willing to feed them after the dot-com bust of recent years. Consultant Rothman definitely supports this buyers' market in her descriptions of how to identify labor needs, structure job descriptions and expectations, and then search, sort, interview and hire high-technology situations
. . . . This book is obviously written for technical managers with the power to hire, but it could also be useful to still-roaming nerds who have yet to make up their minds about whether they should try to be acceptable to corporate culture or make a career change to, say, animal husbandry."

—Reference & Research Book News

"Countless books have pounded on the principle that the key factor in software development success is the quality of the people working on it. Therefore, for many projects, the key step is the first one, hiring the very best people. . . . Hiring the Best Knowledge Workers, Techies & Nerds: The Secrets & Science of Hiring Technical People . . . is invaluable in showing you how to do this critical task right. Every step, from developing the strategy to be used in hiring to the first day on the job for the new hire is covered."

Charles Ashbacher
Journal of Object Technology

"Rothman lays out the tasks and the issues, then addresses actual situations that might arise. She covers the entire subject thoroughly. . . .

"If you are a hiring manager in a high-tech field, you must read this book."

Richard Mateosian
IEEE Micro

"If you are involved in any way with hiring techies, you need this book -- not just as a one-time read, but as one you will refer to repeatedly. (If you're a techie looking to get hired, it has considerable value, as well.) . . .

"Those of us who have lived painfully through a bad hiring decision know the tremendous cost in money, disruption, and angst. Risk is inherent in every hiring situation, but reading and applying this book will help you go a long way toward mitigating that risk.

"I bought this book for myself. I'll be buying it for my peer managers, my directors, and my team. . . ."

Earl A. Everett
Director of Engineering, Vauban Advanced Technologies
posted on Amazon.com

"Rothman takes the reader through all the steps in hiring: analyzing the job requirements, posting well-written ads, effectively screening résumés, phone screening, interviewing and ultimately signing on new hires. Replete with detailed, step-by-step information and true stories, the book leaves little to chance in finding and evaluating candidates."

Helene Newberg
Arlington Advocate

"In this comprehensive, detailed handbook, Rothman recognizes what employers have to do to be able to attract the best technical workers. . . . This specialized hiring manual is timely considering the present pick-up in activity in the technology sector of the economy. Many technology companies have to start now preparing to hire new technical workers to be able to capitalize on the opportunities shaping up."

Henry Berry

"This book is the B-52 of hiring management. . . .

". . . one of the best books on hiring management available on the market today. Whether you are a hiring manager in need of some guidance/improvements or a job seeker willing to put together outstanding job applications to maximize your chances, don't wait any further, get this book NOW!"

Valentin Crettaz

"I'm not aware of any other book like this. It's a humane, yet tough-minded approach to hiring. Any technical manager who wants to hire well will be thankful for it."

—James Bach
CEO, Satisfice, Inc.

". . . practical, pragmatic advice on finding and hiring the right person. . . . full of examples, templates, and true stories that will help you make the best use of your time, fine-tune your hiring process, and hire the best."

—Esther Derby
President, Esther Derby Associates, Inc.

"As I read through the book, I constantly circled ideas and made notes like "Wonderful phrase," "I like this," "Exactly," "Great stuff," and "YES!" Every chapter resonates with my experience. . . .

"I'd like to suggest another use for this book. Read it as if you were looking for a job. Turn each chapter around. Ask yourself, what does this chapter offer to a person searching for a job, writing a resume, interviewing, and negotiating. You'll find it extremely useful if you do."

—Lee Copeland

". . . I wish I had this book twenty years ago. This book provides a detailed process for determining your specific hiring strategy. . . is both well thought out in scope and thorough in detail, with true case experiences to highlight points in the book that the author has had as a hiring consultant. . . . I consider the book excellent in style, goals and methods, and can, and do, recommend it as a reference both for hiring, and for being hired."

—Robert Schaefer
ACM Software Engineering Notes

"Every company wants to hire the best staff possible. You want intelligent people with the relevant experience who'll fit into the corporate culture, and you don't want to make expensive, emotionally-trying mistakes in doing so.

". . . Rothman provides plenty of real-world examples, lots of useful templates, and case studies that reflect reality. If you're a hiring manager, trying to figure out how to open a job requisition, or if you're a developer who's been asked to interview a slew of candidates for the new position, I emphatically recommend you pick up a copy of Hiring The Best."

—Esther Schindler

PDF Preview: Read the First 3 Chapters (~736K PDF)

Table of Contents

PDF Preview: The First 3 Chapters
Dorset House Catalog
This Book's Flyer

By this Author
Blog: Hiring Technical People
Amplifying Your Effectiveness (contributor)

Also Recommended

Dr. Peeling's Principles of Management, by Nic Peeling

Five Core Metrics: The Intelligence Behind Successful Software Management, by Lawrence H. Putnam and Ware Myers
Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams, 2nd ed., by Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister
Practical Project Management: Restoring Quality to DP Projects and Systems, by Meilir Page-Jones
Roundtable on Project Management: A SHAPE Forum Dialogue, edited by James Bullock, Gerald M. Weinberg, and Marie Benesh

How to Order

To order this book by credit card directly from Dorset House in New York, please call (800) 342-6657 or (212) 620-4053, weekdays, 9am to 6pm. Alternatively, print out our Faxable Order Form and fax to (212) 727-1044.

To order this book from an online bookstore, please see above.

To purchase at a bookstore, contact our Recommended Booksellers to verify availability. Any store can order from Dorset House using the book's title and ISBN number. Also, bookstores can order our books through Baker & Taylor.

We'd like to make it easy for you to order, so please contact us at any time for help!

New:3143 Broadway, Suite 2B  New York, New York 10027  USA
1-800-DH-BOOKS or 212-620-4053, fax 212-727-1044
Copyright © 1996-2008 by Dorset House Publishing Co., Inc. All rights reserved.
Home | Blog | Savings | Stores | Features | Titles | Authors | Subjects | Orders | About | Contact | Legal