The Perfect Fit
Advanced Skills For Finding And Hiring The Ideal Candidate
by Ed Grimshaw (Dragon Rising)

The Perfect Fit at Waterstone's

Outsourcing IT
The Legal Aspects - Planning, Contracting, Managing and the Law
by Rachel Burnett (Gower)

Outsourcing IT at Waterstone's

The Contract Scorecard
Successful Outsourcing By Design
by Sara Cullen (Gower)

The Contract Scorecard at Waterstone's

Security In A Web 2.0+ World

A Standards-Based Approach
by Carlos Solari (Wiley)

Security In A Web 2.0+ World at Waterstones

Almost all of us have hired people and in so doing have achieved a wide variety of successes and failures. Some of those we helped choose will have gone on to dazzling careers while others will have been disappointments. How did we make selection decisions? On a cocktail of CV, references, word of mouth, interview and a large shot of hunch and instinct of course.

In The Perfect Fit, Ed Grimshaw posits a more scientific approach aimed at managers, professional recruiters and even job candidates themselves. Grimshaw is realistic enough to know that most of us are resolutely unscientific:
"In my experience, common responses amongst some recruiting managers as to why they should recruit and select a particular candidate include: ‘Well I just get a gut feel they seem to be right for the job', or ‘She seems to have what we need', or ‘We just think they could do a good job for us'. Often, managers will intuitively select someone who they think is suited to the job but do not understand or are able to articulate exactly why. The intuitive skills of the manager take on the characteristics of a fortune-teller or tealeaf reader."

To get away from this unsatisfactory state of affairs, Grimshaw says that managers and recruiters need specific training in understanding what they want and how to get it. His advice leans at times on neuro-lingustic programming, but this is a broad book that extends out from an analysis of what recruiting really is, and forces the reader to examine what he or she is trying to achieve, before taking a deep dive into the appropriate processes around finding the right person for the right job.

Outsourcing is a subject that has accounted for many a tree and yet fundamental errors continue to occur, fostering accounts of project failures, fallings out and even lawsuits. It will never be possible to create a foolproof outsourcing relationship but neglecting the fundamentals is unforgiveable. In the second edition of Outsourcing IT - The Legal Aspects, Rachel Burnett has updated her practical guide for business managers on the legal side of outsourcing relationships. As CIO's Richard Sykes notes in his foreword, IT outsourcing is a relatively youthful endeavour but that's no excuse for not being methodical in your approach to it.

A complementary read is The Contract Scorecard by Sara Cullen, which proposes a framework for measuring performance, service levels and general governance of outsourcing relationships. Copiously illustrated, this is a work that can form the basis of an approach to reduce risk in outsourcing relationships and, in a sector that is riddled with jargon, Cullen is refreshingly direct. As she writes in her preface: "You will need to make an upfront investment to design and manage successful contracts - something many organisations do not do. Even a minor investment in the better design of a contract's success will yield a superior return on that investment."

Finally, in Security In A Web 2.0+ World, a former White House CIO, Carlos Solari, looks at the challenges facing IT leaders in the modern era and in particular at how ISO/ITU standards can help those seeking to take a managed approach to securing assets. His experience in the most sensitive areas of state security gives the author the right to his characteristically punchy style:

"That the Good Guys are at a disadvantage is not a first-principles deduction by some logician - it is merely an observation. Looking back over the last decade, it is easy to observe that the amount of treasure and labour being expended on security has risen very fast indeed. At the same time, the loss of goods and control engineered by the opposition has risen. We are losing. They are winning. The reason is structural."

Hard-hitting stuff - and undeniable too.