O'Reilly logo
live online training icon Live Online training

Spotlight on Learning from Failure: Hiring Engineers with Jeff Potter

How to hire for successful teams

Jeff Potter

Hiring for your engineering team is one of the most important determiners of engineering project success—and also an undeveloped skill in most small teams. How do you design a hiring process that’s fair to candidates, respects everyone’s time, and leads to the best possible outcome for your team?

The engineering hiring process has evolved greatly over the past few decades. The days of puzzles and whiteboard challenges are long gone, replaced with assessments of softer skills and empathy. But how do you grow your team with people who add new skills and complement existing team members instead of bringing on “more of the same”? Designing a structured hiring process is one part of the answer; assessing your current environment and the direction it should move in is another.

Join us for this edition of Spotlight on Failure to learn the dos and don’ts of identifying the right people to add to a team, distilled from the real-world experiences of engineering hiring managers.

O’Reilly Spotlight explores emerging business and technology topics and ideas through a series of one-hour interactive events. You’ll engage in a live conversation with experts, sharing your questions and ideas while hearing their unique perspectives, insights, fears, and predictions for the future.

In every edition of Spotlight on Learning from Failure, you’ll learn about, discuss, and debate the lessons learned from failures both large and small. Best of all, you’ll discover how successful companies have addressed setbacks, missteps, and challenges and how you can grow from their examples.

What you'll learn-and how you can apply it

By the end of this live show, you’ll better understand:

  • How to hire engineering talent in a business that doesn’t have an HR team specializing in technical hiring
  • How to structure your hiring process for a small but growing engineering team

This training course is for you because...

  • You're a team lead or otherwise involved in hiring engineers and want to ensure you're extending offers to the right people.
  • You participate in engineering interviews and want to contribute to getting the best talent.


  • Come with your questions for Jeff Potter
  • Have a pen and paper handy to capture notes, insights, and inspiration

Recommended follow-up:

About your instructor

  • Jeff Potter is the head of engineering for Enveritas, a Y Combinator-backed nonprofit that’s looking at new ways of certifying coffee beans with a goal of lifting millions of farmers out of poverty. Jeff has been an engineering manager and software engineer for 15+ years, specializing in engineering environments in the pre- and post-series A level. Previously, he was the vice president of engineering at the James Beard Award-winning website Food52 and helped build the initial backend engineering team for Hillary for America 2016. He's the author of Cooking for Geeks from O’Reilly. Jeff studied computer science and visual arts at Brown University. He now lives in New York City.


The timeframes are only estimates and may vary according to how the class is progressing

Tuesday, June 25, 2019, at 9:00am PT / 12:00pm ET

  • Introduction and presentation (15 minutes)
  • Interactive discussion and Q&A (45 minutes)