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nickname_changed
06-14-2005, 02:53 AM
The company I work for are interviewing for a senior C# developer position. Our programming team is small, 2 people (will be 3 when we find the right person), and management just said we can do the interviews ourselves and pick whoever suits us.

So I got to sit in on an interview today (first time for me being on the opposite side of the table). The candidate was the nicest guy I've ever met. He's been programming for 14+ years and seems to know his C++ really well, but he's not too up to speed on C#, though he seemed the type that could pick it up pretty fast. However, he was also very very nervous. When asked of his avaliability, he said he was on 4 weeks notice from the company he currently works for.

Now the guy was very very nice, and he seemed pretty smart. He was also ~ 40ish I think, and I imagine he has a wife, a mortgage and probably children (then again, he's a C++ programmer so maybe not :P). But his lack of skills with C# was a concern to me, especially since its only a 6 month contract and we really need someone fast, we might not have time for him to brush up.

If we interview someone else with great C# skills, maybe an MVP or something, they'll probably be better suited to the job (assuming all else is equal). Maybe they'll be a confident, crash-hot young programmer, with no cares and a zillion other job offers.

Who would you give the job to? I try to think of the companies best interests, but its hard not to let personal feelings get in the way.

I'm glad I'm not the one making the end decision.

nvoigt
06-14-2005, 03:58 AM
If you had a full time, unlimited position, then this would be a tough decision. As you have a job at hand that needs someone full throttle for 6 months only ( not a lot of time to get used to something ) the decision is unfair but easy. Take a C# guy if you can get one.

adrianxw
06-14-2005, 04:24 AM
Absolutely agree with nv, in a six month period, you need someone that hits the floor running. It is even more important in a small team, if you have a learner around, he will be distracting the rest of the team with questions, that drags the productivity of the whole side down.

You don't have to hire a hot head, you want someone with exactly the right skills, and a team player. Should not be too difficult.

Really nice, nervous 40 something with a family applying for a six month contract sounds a little odd. Most habitual contractors are self confident and assured.

ober
06-14-2005, 06:27 AM
I agree with the others, but I don't think his nervousness should factor into it. Some people are just naturally nervous for those types of things. My wife is very competent and very confident at what she does, but she gets very nervous when it comes to interviews. I obviously don't know how she's done in them, but she always says she fumbles and does poorly. But I wanted to ring some necks last summer when she was trying to find something, because she's extremely motivated, professional, and intelligent... yet a few places passed her over (although it could have been a lack of experience thing as well).

okinrus
06-14-2005, 07:12 AM
You should give the job to who's best at the job. It's not your job as an employer to worry about his wife and children etc. That said, it also depends on which role he's going to fulfill. If he's going to be programming a lot of C# specific library code, then maybe not knowing C# well is a major downside. On the other hand, if he's going to be programming a lot of the code using the base C# language, then the gaps in his C# knowledge shouldn't matter as much.

nickname_changed
06-14-2005, 07:52 AM
Apparently the guys never contracted before, his first time. You guys are right though, we have to hire the best person for the job.

His nervousness won't factor into the decision making, its natural and I would probably have been nervous too. It did get me wondering about his life though. But I guess it's not my place to wonder, nor to care really.

I'd hate to work for a recruitment agency. I'd hate to think someone was out on the street starving because I didn't work hard for them. Programming is so much easier.

SMurf
06-14-2005, 07:56 AM
I'd hate to work for a recruitment agency. I'd hate to think someone was out on the street starving because I didn't work hard for them. Programming is so much easier.
That's probably why there's like 8 times as many recruitment agencies in countries/states with social welfare systems. "You don't have to work, buuuuuuuuuuuuut..." ;)

FillYourBrain
06-14-2005, 08:20 AM
an experienced programmer should be able to do well in any language. But..... a short contract doesn't leave a lot of time for learning. I agree that if you can get a C# guy, you're better off. However, this guy should work out if he's a real programmer. Nobody should be that narrow to only be good at one language.

nickname_changed
06-14-2005, 08:32 AM
Thats true. He does have a modest knowledge of C#, knew a few things pretty easily and a lot carried over from his C++ experience (7 or so years of it) so I'm sure he could pick it up. But he's not what you'd consider a "guru" with it. For the price we're paying, a guru is what we need. Even if he was a C++ guru, 6 months as you said doesn't leave a lot of time. Theres a chance the contract will be extended possibly to full time, but I dunno.

I really shouldn't discuss such things publicly anyway.

major_small
06-14-2005, 01:44 PM
I agree with pretty much everybody else here... but since you mention guru, I take it one step further... how good is his knowledge of computer science? do you need somebody who knows the ins and outs of C#, or somebody who can give your team more/better algorithms? you can get somebody who knows alot about C# but brings no new ideas to the table, or you can get somebody who knows alot about comp sci, but would need your help coding it. the latter would increase knowledge and learning on both sides of the deal.

The ideal case is to find somebody who's both great at C# and also has a deep understanding the underlying sciences of the language, while at the same time isn't too egotistical to think he's right all the time.

ober
06-14-2005, 01:55 PM
>>The ideal case is to find somebody who's both great at C# and also has a deep understanding the underlying sciences of the language, while at the same time isn't too egotistical to think he's right all the time.

That's an oxymoron (for lack of a better word) with coders ;)

adrianxw
06-14-2005, 02:36 PM
That changes with age Ober.

A 40+ person who is a happy coder, would be a better choice for a six month programming contract than some young, ambitious, out to make a name whizz kid.

The older person has seen before the results of the employment of the younger, because he has been called in to sort the mess out. Personal experience.

Still, a six month C# contract in a team that size requires a C#/ OS/ DB compatible person.

Possibilities of full time or extensions adjust things, but we are not privvy to sufficient detail to offer definitive advice. At this time, look for a six month C# programmer.

If at the end of the six months his/her contribution has had above cost earnings to the business - then negotiate.

major_small
06-14-2005, 08:17 PM
>>The ideal case is to find somebody who's both great at C# and also has a deep understanding the underlying sciences of the language, while at the same time isn't too egotistical to think he's right all the time.

That's an oxymoron (for lack of a better word) with coders ;)you missed the word ideal =P

how about this:
Good with a language
deep understanding of the science behind any language
not an elitist
pick any two ;)

B0bDole
06-15-2005, 06:26 AM
the only problem with newly graduated students is that they were never taught how to program in teams. They do horrible things such as:
- Comment code after it's written
- Seek help on own program but never help others
- Use to working by themselves
- and most geek students have no social skills anyways

SMurf
06-15-2005, 07:06 AM
- Comment code after it's written
What? Are you supposed to comment code before it's written?!!?!!111? :eek:

- and most geek students have no social skills anyways
You take that back! My pet rock loves me... :(

ober
06-15-2005, 07:46 AM
I was being sarcastic, mostly. And I agree with you, Adrian. I'm not saying all young, talented programmers are elitests, but a lot of them are. And yes, B0bDole, most of them are socially inept. That's why you have to find the few that are a good mix of all those things.

I'll be the first to admit that I like having older, more experienced programmers on my team, because when I get stuck, they can usually help me out of it. That doesn't mean I don't teach them things as well.

I guess my point is, I don't think any company will ever find "the ideal" programmer for the job. 98% of them either don't know some specifics about a language or haven't been working with it for 10 years, or aren't the perfect social fit for the company. But then again, what other positions are filled in a company with ideal candidates, right?

pianorain
06-15-2005, 08:04 AM
what other positions are filled in a company with ideal candidates, right?You mean my boss isn't the "ideal candidate"? :eek:

B0bDole
06-15-2005, 10:05 AM
>Comment code after it's written
Comment code after it's all written

The Brain
06-15-2005, 10:19 PM
i just have a question for stovellp.. why did your shop choose c pound as it's official language? did you have any influence on this decision? (if so, why did you /did you not vote for c# ? )

yes.. I know it's c sharp