The algorithm for hiring Developers at Friendz

Would you ever ask to a designer to decorate your own flat without having a look at his portfolio? And what about asking a pastry chef to prepare your wedding cake without having a bite of his pie before? Now imagine the same situation shifted to the recruiting process scenario: would you ever hire an employee without being sure of his skills? Surely not.

That is why our CTO Giorgio Pallocca, felt the need to elaborate a solution to test developers’ ability in coding, exiting the usual frame of face-to-face interview. Hence, he came out with an algorithm to solve all the recruiting problems and uncertainties:

// Hiring algorithm alpha version (use with care)

Candidates = GetDevCandidates (“Anyone know any good developer?”);

foreach (Candidates as Candidate)

{

If (Candidate.terriblySmart == true)

Candidate.HireNow();

}

Any doubt?

Just in case, we decided to reach out Giorgio in Rome, where he is working with the Development team to perfect the blockchain technology at the base of our business, to ask him to decipher the algorithm for us. In his office, the realm of computers and software, started our interview.

F: Hi Giorgio, it is on everybody’s lips, the demand for developers is increasing, making them one of the top needed professionals inside a company. Despite the fact that, a consistent number of students starts to approach the world of computer science, is it really that easy to hire skilled employees?

G: Yes, you are right! More and more young students are getting interested to the world of computer science and I cannot be happier. There is plenty of developers out there, but do you know what are the features that make a good developer standing out of the crowd? With no doubt, his ability of writing codes, making them well-factored and clean. Other factors need to be taken into consideration too. First of all, the ability with math is essential because it helps the developer to be aware of problems and their solutions related to the domain they are in. Moreover, communication ability is another essential characteristics as well as process and team dynamics. What is generally expected from an expert dev is the ability of finding a creative way around problems, plugging components together to obtain perfect outcomes. To answer your first question, it is not easy at all to hire skilled professionals. To have good developers in your team, you need to spend time in figuring out who the right candidates are. And this is usually done during the face-to-face interviews.

F: Did you follow a specific recruiting model to find out the best candidates for your team?

G: Yes, I did follow a model even if I should admit, I was not the one who designed it. As all the experts of the fields are, I am a great admirer of Joel Spolsky, ex project manager of Excel at Microsoft. In computer science, Joel is well known for being the founder of Fog Creek, a software development company based in New York and, even more, for being the cofounder of Stack Overflow, the most famous portal for developers Q&A. Joel keeps also a blog about the tricks of developing and programming. I am a daily follower of Joel’s blog and once I bumped into one of his articles about recruiting techniques. In this article Joel was describing the roadmap for the growth of an efficient development team. He suggested that to test the ability of a candidate it was necessary to code with him in order to understand his level of overall performance. I thought he was right and I started using the same method to carry out “on the field” interviews.

F: How did the application of Joel’s recruiting model worked out for you?

G: It was absolutely revelatory! Coding side by side with the potential future members of my team was an effective way to analyze their skills, while getting to know them better. However, before sitting with one candidate to test his ability, I needed to find candidates! In the last years, I have usually looked at schools when I needed extra help and so I did the time when Flavio got on board. I remember going to the teacher asking for a list of the best students in her class. She gave me 5 to 10 names and I started the interview process. The guys I have spoken with were all very young and very skilled but something was missing.

It was during my last interview when a candidate, after having heard about the story of Friendz, asked me if I had already talked with one of his classmates. I had a quick look at the list of names the teacher provided me with, but the person in question was not present there. The candidate was not surprise at all and he told me: “ the student I’m talking about is not one of the best of the class, that is why you cannot find him between the names suggested! But I am sure that Flavio is just the right guy for you!”.

Following the suggestion, I got into contact with Flavio and I scheduled an interview for the next day. When I first saw him, I understood the reason why the teacher hadn’t put him on the list . It as that kind of guy a little bit too covered with tattoo, a little bit too bully but all my doubts have been swiped away once we started coding together! Committed and precise, fast and enthusiast, clean and detail-oriented. In short, we hired him the same day.

Flavio Lanternini, Blockchain development

F: Never judge a book from its cover then!

G: Absolutely! When I first saw my colleagues-to be, I would have never imagined that the 5 of us could have made such an efficient team together. But look at the group now: Dario, all muscles, Alessandro with his funny accent and Mario, a little bit reticent to join our family, together with Flavio, our rock’n’roll new entry were able to create a perfect synergy becoming a real tech family!

F: Would you like to tell us a little bit more about the projects you are working on at Friendz?

G: Sure! Looking back, I have helped with the development of Friendz app as you see it now. Now, I am responsible for the system and blockchain architecture. Together with Mario and Flavio we are working on the blockchain technology which will empower Friendz business model to the maximum extent. Moreover, Dario and Alessandro, our frontend and backend developers, are taking care of designing the new look and feel of Friendz website and app, supporting our communication strategy. We can say that the Development Division is pretty busy lately but also super excited to support, with the right technical tools, the launch of Friendz ICO!

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