Archive for the ‘HR’ Category

How to choose the best software engineer?

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

Ok. It’s interview time again. And another candidate sits on the opposite side of a table.

What qualities are you looking for? My guess that you want it all and you want it now. However candidates which satisfy all of your requirements doesn’t come too often.. As result, you will have to prioritize what’s important to you.

My take on it is following. I want to see three qualities:


Frankly, if person isn’t smart enough then anything else just doesn’t matter. A person can be hardworking, experienced and so on, but at the end of the day he or she will be just a liability (decreasing the value of a company vs increasing it).


it’s unbelievable luck If you found somebody who is passionate about your cause. Such person will move mountains for you. However, there is a pretty good chance that there won’t be too many people who are truly passionate about cause of your company (especially, if you are classical enterprise b2b). And I believe it’s better to hire a person who is passionate about something (vs non passionate person).

Passionate person is used to spent each free minute on something interesting to him and as result he is used to get into “zone” really fast and be super productive. Getting into “zone” is a skill and I would rather get a person who continuously trains this skill and can apply it at the work.

Get things done

If I had a penny for each smart software engineer who can’t complete straight forward task I would be rich by now. It amazes me how many software engineer have attention span of 1 year old jumping on anything new any shiny.  Each company need some level of jumping and fire fighting but the core of the company should belong to people who move needle forward whether it snows or rains.

That’s kind of it.

I hope at this moment you say: “Hey, how about experience?”

Frankly, experience is overrated (especially very specific experience). I saw smart/passionate/get thing done engineers figuring out new stuff within couple of month way better than seasoned veterans. Way too often companies choose experienced person with dull eyes who just want to get their paycheck and get out of build over less experience but way more passionate engineers.

I would say, it’s important that person had some overall experience but specific area experience is just a cherry on the cake.