Every software engineering job post these days is just an endless checklist of technologies and buzzwords. It’s always fun when you find one that clearly wasn’t written by a programmer. Those ones often ask for things like 5+ years of Docker experience (Docker was released in 2013).
Here’s a prime example of a common, buzzword-soup job posting for a development position:
Now read this job posting by Caktus, where you can be sure the writer of this posting wasn't just lazily listing a bunch of languages and frameworks:
This way of describing a position makes a lot more sense, and it doesn’t turn away potentially valuable candidates that, for many possible reasons (doesn’t have one of the skills, has some imposter syndrome-like feelings, not sure about the degree of expertise required), might assume that they don’t meet the position’s standards and that applying isn't worth their time and energy.
Allow people to surprise you.
You can see that, rather than just posting a bulleted list of skills, they actually list what they want the person to do if they are hired. They include performance milestones for their first 30, 60, and 90 days. It's a little more work, but honestly we're all being a bit lazy when we just list a few technologies and tasks, then call it a day.
Mark said that they dislike interviews that are essentially computer science exams. No whiteboards, coding tests, or puzzlers.
GitHub is NOT your resume
What Caktus is really interested in is the process by which a candidate develops. The only thing an interviewer needs to do is find out if that process makes sense and can evolve in a positive direction.
What Mark wants to know in an interview is whether there is something new and different that the candidate can add to the team’s overall knowledge profile. What are they doing that Caktus could be doing? Their goal is not to find a rockstar, but to make a strong team out of average people who complement each other.
Most people are average, so build a team of average people who, when they're working together, outperform teams with above-average people.
It made a lot of sense to me. However, I think some companies are certainly forced to be more selective than Caktus. Caktus is a Django and mobile dev shop, so that means that most people can easily get up to speed with a rapid-development web framework like Django. Jeff Atwood, for example, believes the organizations he's worked with would benefit from more CS-skills-focused interviews.
Despite that fact, the 30/60/90 day job description seems like something everyone should do. And Caktus' style of hiring has also given them a level of employee diversity that most tech companies only dream of.
Would this style of hiring work for your company?