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March 13, 2017 by Mike Hillwig

Over the course of my career, I’ve hired dozens of people. A good chunk of them have been part of global/offshore teams, but several have been here in the US as well.

Last summer, I had a position open for my team in our office in Wellesley, a Boston suburb. Once again, I was working with Cat, one of our senior recruiters. She had sent me a few resumes that were underwhelming. I just wasn’t getting the talent I knew I needed. I wanted someone who was where I was in my career three or four years ago, someone who could get to¬†where I am today.

A few days later, she sent me a resume that stopped me cold in my tracks. I knew the name. The resume that came in belonged to one of our SQL Saturday volunteers–someone I had met about six months earlier. Bursting into Cat’s office, it was my “STOP THE PRESSES!” moment. I gave Cat the list of people I wanted this candidate to meet with. She looked at me and said “Don’t you want to do a phone screen first?” My response was “No. I know this guy.”

I was going on a total whim here. This was someone I’d met at a professional development event. The only thing I knew is that he had volunteered at a SQL Saturday. And yet, something told me to trust my instincts.

Every interviewer loved this candidate. After checking with my boss and his boss, I asked Cat to extend the offer. She thought I was nuts. She asked if I wanted to see anymore candidates. I didn’t. I’d found the candidate I wanted to hire. We needed to make an offer before someone else snagged this guy.

Almost a year later, I look back and question if I made the right decision. At this point, I have zero regrets, and I’m proud to say that I interviewed exactly one candidate for this position.

To my friends in the SQL community, there is a really strong point here. When you attend any type of an event, you never know if your next employer may or not be siting next to you. I met a great candidate at a SQL Saturday. You might meet your next employer or employee there, too. Don’t just learn. Network. Meet people. You never know when you’ll be remembered.

Later I’ll talk about how he spoke at a SQL Saturday himself.