Interviewing software engineers

2005/06/23 at 10:56

This has been making the blog rounds the last few days. Joe Kraus has three interview questions can be used to tell whether an engineer might be a good fit for a start-up software company:

  1. Do you have a blog?
  2. What’s your home page?
  3. Do you contribute to an open source project?

When I read his post, I immediately thought of a coworker with whom I’ve worked at two start-up software companies. This guy is brilliant, articulate, hard-working and one of the most productive programmers I’ve ever seen. He’s been a huge asset to both start-up companies. But when this guy leaves the office, that’s the end of his technical life for the day. As far as I know, he doesn’t look at a computer outside of work.
So, this co-worker passes the spirit of Joe’s questions with flying colors, but would fail the actual questions miserably. I see what Joe is getting at with these questions, but the questions themselves are an absurd reduction.