Five signs that you should hire this programmer right now

Original author: Brian Kelly
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When you invite a programmer to interview and complete a test task, this can be an interesting experience for both you and him. Most interviews end with the recruiting manager promising to “stay connected,” but sometimes the job seeker just gets to the point. At such moments, you are considering whether to hire him before he can leave the building. We at Alconost have translated for you an article from shareholder Brian Kelly about such successful cases.

In TimeTrade, we give programmers a test task, which most of them must cope with in 2 hours. The whole task consists of a sequence of small tasks, each more complicated than the previous one. This allows us to evaluate the programmer’s productivity based solely on the time taken to complete the task: if everything is decided in less than an hour, we will be satisfied. But if two hours have passed and the first task has not yet been solved, most likely we will point the candidate to the door.

But, in addition to just solving tasks quickly, there are several signs that you have a really amazing programmer who needs to immediately be offered a job before he can leave.

1. He offers several solutions.

Recently, I interviewed a programmer who solved the entire set of tasks twice: once in an iterative way, the second in a recursive way. I immediately offered him a job. The ability to find several solutions to a problem is a skill that engineers have to apply every day.

2. He writes full documentation

Last year, I interviewed a programmer so diligent, diligent, and professional in his work that he created a complete Javadoc with comments on his code before I considered the task to be completed. He even wrote fully automated unit tests and checked their percentage of code coverage. When I returned to the room after 2 hours, he frantically tapped the keyboard, and I decided that he had problems with the task, but in fact he was just adding HTML formatting to his Javadoc. It is such engineers who do this intuitively that you want to see on your team.

3. He perfects the task

We specially create tasks with small flaws hidden in them, solely to see: a) whether the applicant will notice them and b) whether they will undertake to correct them. It can be incorrectly used quotation marks in strings, incorrect variable names, or something like that. Applicants who consider the entire code provided as part of the task, and not just the one we asked them to write, will act in the same way with the real product when they join our team.

The engineer’s willingness to point out to the potential employer the problems in the assignment shows that they consider the quality of their work more important than simply agreeing with what they are told. Hire them - and they are likely to work wonders with your product, doing much more than the task and making improvements where they are needed.

4. He refactor wisely

Most applicants like to get the solution working, after which they relax and sigh with relief, having successfully completed everything. This is good, but rarely enough to immediately get a job offer. The job seekers who solve the problem, and then without a break take it upon themselves to refactor the code, are specialists in a completely different category. If it seems to them that they have chosen the wrong algorithm, they cannot ignore the idea that everything could be much more efficient. If there is a slight repetition in their code, it burns them from the inside. These are job seekers who refactor, rewrite and improve their decisions until they become works of art.

However, this is a double-edged sword. If the applicant simply continues to rewrite, because nothing brings him satisfaction other than achieving mythical "perfection", there is a chance that this is one of those programmers who simply do not know when to stop (how to hand over the finished task). Although, if they are able to carefully monitor the time in order to solve the problem and refactor their decision on time, this is a really good sign: you can think about hiring.

5. All other signs are in his favor.

It happens that the right applicant gives a lot of non-technical features. Other members of your team take you aside with the words "We must hire this girl." The identity of the applicant looks extremely suitable for the team. He has relevant and fresh experience in what he will have to do. You know several people who worked with him and believe that he is a wonderful addition to the team (and you would have hired him again without hesitation). The job seeker is delighted with the company and the opportunities, and he is eager to start work.

If the applicant is recognized as technically fit and all the other signs are in his favor, why wait? Delaying with the decision, you can miss the job seeker, who will be picked up by another employer who knows how to recognize all the same signs faster than you. Better be more decisive and give the job offer quickly, thus letting the applicant know how much the company wants to get it. This will help to start a relationship with him from the right starting point for both sides.

So next time, when a terrific job seeker enters your building, don’t expect that someone else will come to visit you any day. Give the job offer to the applicant and get to work.

About the translator

Translation of the article was done in Alconost.

Alconost localizes applications, games and sitesinto 60 languages. Native-language translators, linguistic testing, cloud platform with API, continuous localization, project managers 24/7, any format of string resources.

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