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Author and chief editor of the effizine, online magazine for busy professionals desperate for getting things done efficiently

Recruiting software developers

Time and again I’ve been asked how do I interview developers for the teams Magda and I have been running over the years. Quite notably there’ve been few openings in the business ran by my partner recently and also I’ve been involved in interviewing for new openings within the companies I’ve had worked for in the past as an employee or a consultant.

My personal choice of technique is very different to acclaimed standards and processes. I only recruit “stars”. Interviewing my way means all the information I’m taking under consideration have to be publicly available. This skews the ideal candidate’s profile slightly towards open source communities, which I understand being an area of software development superstars, as lots of open source is about recognition and public reputation.

Putting my managerial hat on, the open source background of a candidate represents represents no value on it’s own, however I do however give lot of attention to people who are not publicly shy about their abilities and portfolios. For the teams I’ve been running, it’s crucial that the type of an ideal candidate is a person who takes full responsibility and even more importantly: is a self-starter with a tracked record of speaking publicly about his/her achievements.
I tend to think that someone who’s running their own technological blog, lists all their project and/or actively takes part in public discussion works for me as a proof of a proactive personality, which is the very most important quality of a person I’m looking for most of the projects. I strongly believe that personal motivation, credibility and proactive mindset can make up for lot of other deficiencies candidate might or might not have.

If you’re prepared to learn, be judged and you don’t shy away from helping other or taking criticism, you’ll probably be hanging around online a lot. I often say that contrary to a popular belief, software development is one of the most social activities one can be involved in, so although I can see good programmers sitting in their corners, true developers will spend fair amount of their time with their users and peers and it’s safe to bet it will be online.

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