Hiring programmers

Credit: flickr/fuzzcat

In our modern Web world, programmers are the building blocks of many companies. Finding the right one is critical, but difficult.

Evaluating programmers, who need a mixture of art and craft, can be daunting. Coding Horror offers seven tips, starting off with basic tests through checking their portfolio to more involved audition projects. Finally, when 95 percent sure, bring in the programmer for a face-to-face. But step seven says, "None of this is guaranteed."

37Signals slants their advice toward non-programmers hiring programmers, with six steps. Check how opinionated your applicants are, ask about their Open Source involvement, and find out if they actually enjoy programming. As with Coding Horror, 37Signals is all for a test drive, such as a small contract project before extending the offer of full time employment. And they also suggest getting some experience programming before hiring a programmer, so you'll better understand their job.

Good idea, but …

It's really not that hard. You just need someone who can actually do it to do it.

cletus on news.ycombinator.com

why not just have a 'probationary period' (e.g. 3 months) during which time either the developer or the employer can decide to end it if things don't work out. Its fairly common in development jobs in Australia.

Dodgy_coder on codinghorror.com

Good article, but it’s missing a key component: attitude. I can find a programmer that has all of these traits, but if their attitude sucks, I’m not hiring them.

Ben on 37signals.com

Bad advice because …

maybe I just don't possess the proper dose of passion but in my free time I want to spend time with friends, family, and other hobbies - that's why it's free time.

TravisVT on codinghorror.com

A github or stack overflow profile is a great measure for graduates, but not as a general filter for experienced professionals.

maak on news.ycombinator.com

I know a good number of programmers who are well skilled and have never had anything to do with the open source community.

Chris on 37signals.com

As a programmer …

There should be a step 0 consisting of an introductory conversation to make sure that both sides know who they're dealing with in terms of basic things like the kind of workplace you are, the kind of person you're looking for and the recruitment process.

Djfoobarmatt on codinghorror.com

You can be a great developer, but still not a good fit for a company.

larsberg on news.ycombinator.com

Take it for what its worth, but I think the passion word should die unless there are naked bodies involved.

Walt on 37signals.com

Learn to program to hire a programmer? Tell us in a comment how thrilled your HR people will be to hear that advice. Note: keep their imagined responses safe for work.

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