It’s been 3 months since I left a lead position to become a system analyst. Looking back (and taking notes for the next time I have to assume those responsibilities), the one thing I’d change is the hiring process I went through for adding people to my team. I filled about 4 positions in the 16 months I was a lead. Before I started interviewing candidates for the first position, I had a pretty good idea of what I was looking for. Our budget was cramped, but it was a great opportunity and a solid paycheck in a slumping economy. I was looking for 2+ years of experience in ASP, with some exposure to SQL and .NET. Not too stringent. Finding a good candidate was hit and miss. Many times I had a project deadline and the first qualified candidate in the door got the offer because 1 month of a mediocre developer is (we thought) better than 2 weeks of looking for the best and 2 weeks of the best’s time. Needless to say, this worked out sometimes, but not as often as it should have for such an important decision.
In the same position again, I’d look for a developer that loves to develop. The one that has a network of old machines at home with different OS’s, or the one that would just as soon stay at home and measure the performance difference between remoting and web services as he/she would go out for a cold one. Sure, knowing the language is important, but one of the best developers I worked with didn’t know a drop of ASP when I hired him for an ASP project, but I knew he could code like no one’s business. Sure enough, he picked up ASP quickly and had the project under control within 2 weeks. Maybe I should say knowing a language is more important than knowing the language.
Of course those aren’t the only things I look for – they have to work well with others, be able to discuss business issues with clients, have relevant experience, etc. But if I do get the opportunity to interview others again, I’ll focus more on gauging their love for 1’s and 0’s than their results on a canned test.
All right, now that you’ve made it through all that stuff above, I’ll admit this is my first blog entry. Thanks to Scott for setting me up. I used to be a developer/team lead and am now a system analyst. Surprisingly I’m doing the same things now as I was then, minus the personnel management and external clients. I’ll be blogging about development ideas, architecture, Whidbey, and hopefully entrepreneurship.