How to hire the right people

I just stumbled across this job posting at Coding Horror.  Go read it then come back.

His post very closely follows my philosophy of hiring.  I didn’t know I had one until about a year ago when a former employee asked me how I hired people.  After giving it some thought my answer was that I look for attitude and aptitude.  What this really means is that I don’t need to necessarily have a new hire understand the systems and languages that we work with, but I do need to feel comfortable that they will work well with the team and that they are excited to learn new technologies.

Some of my hires: Name – where they came from – what they worked on

Chris – worked at a Babbages software store – Advanced Revelation, Gupta, VB 4+ systems

Vlad – Soviet immigrant who was a structural engineer in the Ukraine previously – VB 5+ systems

Joe – freelance web designer and keyboardist in a band – NET based systems with real-time communications.

None of those guys knew the programming environment they were going to work with when they were hired.  They all learned it because they had the aptitude, and they fit into the teams because of their attitude.  In fact, two of the three are still at the original company that I hired them into, many years later.

Of course, if a person comes to interview and they are currently working on a technology that we use, I will put them in front of a computer with a simple task to perform, such as write a single form app that does some calculation – and I’ll provide the calculation!  I have knocked out several people with this test.  If you walk into the office and claim to be able to write code in VB.NET, I’m going to put you in front of a system and make sure you can do it!

Anyway, that’s my two cents.

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