Hire for the things you can’t train

Wil Reynolds
3 min readMay 27, 2022

I was up till 3:30am the other night working on an open source CCTV troubleshooting project, I went from zero knowledge and thinking it would be a 10 minute fix at 9pm to working on this problem until 3:30am and fixing it, kinda.

I share this because it reminds me of how I got my first job in search, I was told to go home and make a website at 5pm and come back the next day and show it to the owners Ettore Rossetti & Angelo A. Rossetti — I went home and learned how to make a site on Geocities, it was all about my 88 jeep wrangler Sahara. So I learned it and loaded everything up. That next morning, I checked everything at home, looked great.

I went to the office in Bridgeport, CT to show off my skills. Guess what? None of the images loaded, not one of them.

Ettore (Right) — Angelo (Left)

I just effed up this interview, I assumed. I was wrong.

Ettore pulled me aside and said, we’re hiring you anyway. He showed me how I needed to change my image locations from c:/mydocs to wherever the location was on the server, right there in the interview he taught me how to use CuteFTP and how to edit the HTML and he said, we’re hiring you anyway.

I was shocked, I thought I messed up the interview.

He said, we need people who are unafraid to make mistakes, and who become obsessive about figuring things out, optimizing on altavista/lycos/excite isn’t about what you know, it’s about how obsessed you are about getting to the top.

Once I teach you CuteFTP in 10 minutes you’ll never forget how to fix this problem again — but I can’t teach you in 10 minutes to be unfraid, to rely on your instincts, and I can’t teach you in 10 minutes to know that it’s within you to do hard things.

3:30am on a Tuesday night, I went to bed PUMPED with adrenaline, that feeling that I can do hard things, if I put in the work was coursing through my veins, almost made it hard to go to sleep. “Boy, you still got it”.

Was I tired the next morning, not really, I had a choice break my streak or not. So I got up at 5:42am to go for my morning run, hello world, I’m ready for the day, worked a full day, made it to t-ball practice and then that night got a good solid 8.5 to take on the next day.

2 new questions to consider asking in interviews

There’s a lot of “skills and wins” in resumes — but you know what they never tell you — the intangibles. So maybe in your next interview ask someone

when is the last time you did something for the first time?”


when is the last time you got so into something (work or not) that you basically forgot to eat

These kinds of questions might help you find the next diamond in the rough.

Thank you Ettore for seeing past my today skills for the skills you could see I would acquire.



Wil Reynolds

Serial Underdog @seerinteractive doing SEO, Marketing, & Stuff, I am whatever you say I am.