This really goes for anyone. I'll tell you that when I entered management there was little training on how to interview, hiring, and writing JD's. Here's the dirty little secret: most people don't know what they're doing. / https://t.co/4dLkDgFi2Q— Chris McKenzie (@ISuperGeek) June 9, 2020
The above tweet is going just a tiny bit viral. (Okay more than 2-3 likes is “viral” by my standards.”) Still, writing JD’s is a skill like anything else and needs to be practiced. Unfortunately, most JD’s are cobbled together and/or copy/pasted from other JD’s and often bear no resemblance to what the position is actually about.
When I begin learning how to hire, I was not satisfied with this. I found Sandro Mancuso’s book The Software Craftsman. It has an entire unit on hiring Software Engineers which I found helpful.
The key to being a good hiring manager is taking it seriously. It is not the boring chore you try to fit in between your other work. It’s your most important work. Who you bring onto your team is the most important decision you’ll make. Get it wrong and you’ll have a bad time. Get it right and you’ll move mountains.
I have previously written about how to work with Agency Recruiters but I realized I have never really written about Job Descriptions. I’m not going to give a crash course in that now, but below is the JD I wrote after reading Mancuso’s book. As it relates to the above tweet, there is no requirements section. Instead the JD is crafted so that the right people will want to apply and the wrong people will self-select out.
The result of writing the JD this way were very positive. I was able to communicate clearly with the recruiter about what was working and what wasn’t. I got fewer resumes overall because people self-selected out. The resumes I got were a better fit for the role. I spent a little more time up front communicating with my recruiter and crafting the JD. I spent a LOT less time talking to mismatched candidates.
Software Engineer at [Redacted]
We are a small, but growing finance company located in downtown Seattle. Our team is composed of software craftsmen dedicated to building the software our company runs on. We rely on TDD, Continuous Integration, and Automated Deployments to consistently deliver stable software to our internal customers. What we offer is a chance to work with a group of people chosen for their dedication to finding better ways of doing things.
We are looking for a smart, curious, self-motivated software developer to join our development team.
You recognize yourself in most of these points:
- You care about quality software development. For you, it’s more than a job.
- You understand that there is more to software engineering than just getting it to work–that keeping it working over time is a greater challenge.
- You are interested in full-stack development. You want to feel your impact on the entire application stack from the databases, the services used, to the UI.
- You follow the activities and opinions of other developers through books, blogs, podcasts, local communities or social media.
- You want to work with people that you can learn from, and who will learn from you.
- You have one or more side-projects in various stages of completion.
We use the software we write to run our organization. There is some new development, but most of our work is maintenance-oriented. The challenge we face is to add or change features in an existing application that you didn’t write without breaking existing functionality. To accomplish this, we rely heavily on automated testing encompassing both unit and integration tests.
We are committed to Test Driven Development as an integral part of our development process. If you have experience working with TDD, great! We want to know more. How much? How did you discover TDD? How have you used TDD in a recent project? What problems have you faced?
In this role you will be expected to cover as much of your production code as possible with tests. If you haven’t used TDD before, it’s okay–we’ll teach you.
We believe that “it works on my machine” is not good enough. Many software problems for organizations are deployment-related. We minimize these issues by being sure that we can build and test our software using automated processes from Day One.
Are you familiar with the concepts behind Continuous Integration? Have you used a build server in a previous project before? If so, which ones? What kinds of issues did you encounter?
We are committed to not only building software that works today, but that will remain stable in the face of change for years to come. For us, Software Craftsmanship is not about pretension, but about always doing the best job possible. We practice a “leave it better than you found it” attitude with legacy code, and ensure new code meets modern standards and practices.
We are committed to being a learning and teaching organization. We have an internship program in which we teach college students how to be professional developers. We share knowledge and ideas through pairing, weekly developer meetings, and one-on-one conversations. Your manager is your mentor, and will spend one-on-one time with you every week talking about your career and your aspirations.
Our average team size is 3-5, composed of developers, testers, and business representatives. The business decides which features should be implemented and in what order. The technical team decides how the features will be implemented and provides feature estimates. The whole team signs off on the software before it is released using our automated processes.You’ll pair with developers and testers to write unit and integration tests and to implement features. You’ll have your changes tested in a production-like environment with a complete set of services, databases, and applications.
We try to always do the correct thing, however we’re aware that there are room for improvements, things change, technologies evolve. You’ll spot opportunities for improvement and efficiency gains, evangelize your solutions to the team, and see them implemented. You can affect change at Parametric.
Your Professional Growth
Your professional growth is important to us. To that end we:
- Give every developer a PluralSight License.
- Maintain an internal lending library of technical books.
- Meet weekly with all of our developers to discuss issues before they become problems and to share what we have learned.
- Send every developer to the conference of their choice each year.
- Give flex time when developers go to local conferences or meetups.
- While most of our software is proprietary, some of our projects are open-source. We also encourage developers to submit pull requests to open source packages they are using.
Technologies We Use
Most of our stack is MS SQL Server and C#. Our oldest applications are WinForms over SQL Server via NHibernate or WCF Web Services. Our newer applications are built using ASP .NET MVC and Web API. We are currently building some developer tools in Ruby and are considering an experimental project in Clojure. We do not require that you are proficient with the specific technologies we use (we can teach that), but we do require that you have command of at least one Object Orientied programming language (e.g., Ruby, Java).
Here is a non-exclusive list of technologies we use:
- NHibernate, Entity Framework
- NUnit, NCrunch, rspec
- RhinoMocks, Moq, NSubstitute
- ASP .NET MVC, ASP .NET Web Api, Sinatra
- Kendo UI
- Rabbit MQ