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Meet the New Boy–or how to Hire a SharePoint Developer

Date:November 3rd, 2010 Author: Tags:
Category: General Comments:5 ;

Stuart Pegg - smallAfter a long and rather painful summer of searching for a new developer to join our team, this week we are delighted to welcome Stuart Pegg on board.

First let me tell you a bit about the pain.  We knew it wasn’t going to be easy. We wanted someone who was going to be happy to immerse themselves in deep coding.  We made no secret of this.

We knew that tucked away as we are in a a little backwater of rural England we weren’t likely to get an experienced SharePoint developer.  If we could find a really hot ASP.NET/C# developer we were happy to train them up on the SharePoint bit.

But what we found in very long search was that although we did meet a few very good people, an awful lot of the people out there looking for jobs as developers didn’t seem to be able to  – well – didn’t seem to be able to develop really!

It was a bit of a shocker.  We followed the Joel Spolsky approach and set some practical tests at interview – things that we thought were pretty simple, and would be fair on candidates even under interview pressure.

But a surprising amount of people who looked great on paper and talked a really good talk at interview were totally flummoxed by our practical tests – a couple were even downright offended!

So – the learning form this for us is that just because a persons cv/resume is littered with every programming acronym know to man, and just because they tell you at interview that they are a Six Sigma Black Belt Agile Scrum Master, doesn’t mean they can actually write decent code.  Make them write some code at interview. And if they think that’s beneath them, then you probably don’t want them working for you anyway.

Stuart impressed us at interview by being the only candidate to explain his solution to our interview “test” programming problem so clearly that even a technophobe like me could understand it.

Having started on Monday, Stuart has continued to impress us by finishing all the work we had planned for his first week in just 2 days – that means he gets to make all the tea for the rest of the week!

Stuart joins us after spending 4 years working as a developer and manager at Club Communications, providing hosted ordering and billing platforms for the telecoms industry.

When he’s not working he enjoys hill walking and camping, reading and playing computer games,  and weekend visits to family and friends, where he inevitably gets roped into a bit of unpaid computer maintenance.

As he’s new to SharePoint Stuart is still in the honeymoon period of that love/hate relationship we all have with it.  He will be sharing his first impression in these pages over the coming weeks.

So welcome on board Stuart – mine’s tea with 2 sugars please!

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5 Responses to “Meet the New Boy–or how to Hire a SharePoint Developer”

  1. We were Just talking about this very subject this afternoon! :) Nice viewpoint Clare, thanks.

  2. Antoine Pichot says:

    I fully agree with the technical test. I had the same issue here in Luxembourg for finding a good SharePoint developper, or, at least a very good ASP.Net & C# Developper. I made some basic tests, with the use of generics, delegates, master pages and custom controls, and only one candidate among 14th passed the technical test !
    Amazing ! On paper, they were all good, but in practical.. gosh ! Nobody knows and mroe important, nobody understand the basics of OO programming.
    And I don’t speak about SharePoint, because we are far away from someone really skilled¨.

  3. Ryan says:

    Haha – Claiming expert status in something on a CV to fail badly on the very very basics – it amazes me how much that happens in our industry and just hope it isn’t as prevalent in others like airlines? Maybe I should ask them a few questions before I get on a plane this weekend? “So which way is the front?” “Uhh-huh and this go higher stick you mentioned, where is it again?” ;)

  4. Teresa says:

    I am laughing at this – because my SP developer is in India and “we” spent MONTHS searching for him. Hearing all the rave reviews and how wonderful he is, I asked him to build me a workflow. I am so sad. What I got was so primitive that i am too embarrassed to show it to anyone. I guess that I am the SP developer, and he can learn how to make tea.

  5. Stuart Pegg says:

    Previous references and technical tests are both very important parts of the process: A glowing reference from their current employer might be an indication that they’re keen to get rid of them because they don’t have the necessary skills. Similarly, someone who stormed out of their previous job just because someone used their mug may be entirely capable of passing a technical test.

    I imagine this is all great to hear now that it isn’t useful to you. :) I would say this though: Someone with such a reputation in a new role may not be keen on admitting they’re weak in certain areas. It may be that you have a SharePoint guru, who happens to be slightly too proud to admit they’ve never actually created a workflow themselves.

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