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World's Best Rails Hiring Process

Here is my hiring process for Rails developers. This continues some thoughts I shared in a guest blog post on Ruby Inside, called 11 Tips on hiring a Rails Developer.

1. Meet developer at a Rails Pub Nite (or similar). Collect their email address & phone number.

2. Research him/her on LinkedIn, WWR whatever Google turns up. Look for a personal Rails blog, social network memberships, and open source contributions.

3. Quick phone screen with candidate. Don't waste time… I pepper my sell job on the company with 2 or 3 techie questions. (Examples, how does OpenID work? Do you do TDD? What do you think about {blah} which was just committed to Edge Rails?)

4. One-on-one interviews with me, and select colleagues as necessary. Grillin' Time!

5. Project. This is the part that people find interesting. If a candidate gets this far, I give them a challenging coding project. (Our 3 LearnHub developers, Carsten, Wes, & LiBin all independently reported spending 10 hours on their projects.) The interesting part is that I pick projects that create a win/win/win situation.

  • Company Win: We get a chunk of code that we need.
  • Community Win: Open source. (Carsten's Email Veracity Plugin has had several 1000s of downloads.)
  • Candidate Win: Notoriety in Rails community (Carsten's is being included in the new book Advanced Rails Recipes.)

(Note that we haven't open sourced Wes' yet, and LiBin's Fliqz4R was just released.)

6. References. I ask for 10-15 references. Seriously. I can do this because I am fast… I can knock out 4 or 5 reference checks in an hour. Its really not that big of investment of time, if you are are really serious about the candidate. Order the reference checks by what you guess will be least interesting to most interesting. That way you can hone your questions for the best references.

7. Offer. I always present offers face to face, and go over all the details carefully. We have an employee stock options pool, and I enjoy in explaining the exciting possible upside ($$$).


  1. Czr saidMon, 12 May 2008 12:19:51 -0000 ( Link )

    Really systematic and very well-explained, sounds like a great way to optimize time and get precisely the personnel you need. Quite interesting.

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  2. Poshmonkey saidWed, 18 Jun 2008 05:42:37 -0000 ( Link )

    I wonder whether you would also consider meeting a candidate face-2-face over the internet as well? For example at: www.livehire.com????

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  3. olliesaunders saidMon, 18 Aug 2008 01:26:18 -0000 ( Link )

    For a quite a while there I thought you asked for 10-15 references from each person! But I think you mean references from 10-15 applicants.

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  4. evilepoch saidWed, 20 Aug 2008 20:20:33 -0000 ( Link )

    This wouldn’t be that bad of a process if you’re hiring people who are currently unemployed, as they have time to make blogs and commit to open source projects. Some people may be just too busy at their current Rails job to do much outside, it would seem like they aren’t that good a developer (assuming your criteria is used). I say this because I currently work at a start-up and there really isn’t any time for me to be doing a lot of blogging etc… I consider my self a good Rails programmer, but chances are I would not get your job. Which is fine, it just depends what you are looking for specifically.

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  5. olliesaunders saidThu, 21 Aug 2008 01:00:02 -0000 ( Link )

    Wow, this is the third time I’ve been impressed by you Savvica devs. First was just meeting you all, then discovering how serious you were about testing (this is something I strongly believe in) and now I learn how good you all have to be to be recruited in the first place. I guess you really do hire the best.

    This is a really great guideline for low risk, high quality hiring. What I find really interesting is how many people you’ve found that qualify – there must be a fair bit of poaching going on. Can you offer any tips on how to do that?

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  6. binaljavia saidTue, 30 Dec 2008 05:36:03 -0000 ( Link )

    Great that you mentioned TDD.In ThoughtWorks we practice it every project, every day, every dev :). I haven’t seen many companies that do take it that seriously though. http://www.workwiththegeeks.com

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  7. harinionrails saidMon, 15 Nov 2010 06:57:08 -0000 ( Link )

    I like your approach to hire right rails guys/gals..

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  8. harinionrails saidMon, 15 Nov 2010 07:01:30 -0000 ( Link )

    I like your approach.

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  9. timtisch saidFri, 19 Nov 2010 11:40:36 -0000 ( Link )

    with this approach you will find maybe a skilled developer. but you definitely won’t find a good employee and nice team member. because unsocial hiring processes end in unsocial employments.

    tt

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  10. cisnakul saidSat, 02 Jun 2012 08:56:13 -0000 ( Link )

    Good post. I like the process you suggest to hire ruby on rails developer.
    Through this process, a company will get the right person for the job.

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