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Robert Catmull
Robert Catmull

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Interviews Are Throwing Out Good Developers

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Companies are seeking the best and brightest developers and rightfully so. We all want that developer that’s going to solve our problems and cancer on the side. We think of our companies as innovative and so we need an innovative individual. I’m here to plead with you to stop that. All these interviews requiring developers to answer questions they haven’t had to deal with since their computer science degree are turning the right developers away.

From my experience dealing with developers the intellectual types are the ones you rarely want in your business. These are the developers that seek out the cool, high tech, bleeding edge solutions. It may sound cool and a money maker but it’s actually the complete opposite. These solutions are only maintainable by the developer who wrote it and will quickly become stuck, not able to grow with the business and quickly deprecated due to libraries that didn’t pass the test of time.

On the other hand you can find the black swan, that developer that is the intellectual type but shows restraint and develops only maintainable solutions that will grow with the business. These are the rarest developers and you will know in an interview who these are. However there are many great developers out there that can’t tell you how to properly sort a binary tree but can write clean solutions that do scale and are maintainable by other developers. These developers tend to take what they know works and hone that craft. These are developers that can push your business to success and keep the future looking bright. The more years these types of developers get behind their belt the more they understand about taking the complex and making perfect solutions.

I urge you to not “settle” on but hire developers who show potential and can do your business well. I will tell you how to find those developers.

How to find the right developer

When you sit down for an interview with a developer it’s all about getting them talking about what they’ve accomplished in their career. What they like about their chosen languages what they don’t like about them. When you get a developer who can carry on a conversation about what they love and dislike about development but keep it in laymen’s terms you may have found a winner. If they can talk the talk with you and they light up about it. You’re on the right track.

Now you need to ask them about your issues or problems that you deal with. Ask them how they would solve it and with what tools. What would work best to keep it scalable and maintainable. If you get simple but eloquent solutions you have a winner and it didn’t take complex problem solving that we both know will never be required at your company. Just sayin’.

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