We will not hire jerks

We are in the midst of interviewing for a web developer position, which is fitting for the 0x100th day of the year, Programmer’s Day.

Louis and I have interviewed maybe a hundred people together, and yesterday, for the first time, we interviewed somebody who I would consider a jerk.  I think it’s clear that he demonstrated a lack of respect and concern for others, but I will spare you the details.

There’s an easy, gut-level reaction answer to this.  No hire.  Personality aside, he wasn’t even the technically strongest candidate.  But there’s a harder question; what if he was?  Would we turn away the next Steve Jobs if he rubbed us the wrong way?

  1. There is a difference between fighting for an idea and being a jerk.  We treat team members as peers, and foster a culture where they can tell us when we’re wrong.  More than half of the company’s good ideas come from employees.  We value being outspoken and opinionated, but also being nice.
  2. I don’t want to work with a jerk.  If he can’t keep it together for a one hour interview, how bad might it get later?
  3. One of our strongest assets is our camaraderie.  We took an anonymous employee survey a little while ago, and everybody overwhelmingly responded that they liked and respected the team, and that they thought Louis and I cared about them as people.  One bad apple could start a downward spiral.
  4. Happiness leads to productivity and creativity.  Even if a jerk is super productive, would that compensate for the negative affect on everybody else?  Unlikely.

Salespeople need to have some mainstream appeal, but most good developers are a little quirky.  We love quirks, and we will not hire jerks.  If you work at Archon, breathe easy.

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3 Responses to We will not hire jerks

  1. Stephen Fung says:

    Bonus: did you spot the grammar/psychology pun?

  2. Wendy says:

    Are you calling Steve Jobs one bad apple?

    • Stephen Fung says:

      I’m sure if the real Steve Jobs had wanted something from us, we would be in his reality distortion field!

      But we’ve also learned to be picky — why hire a brilliant jerk if a brilliant person who’s also a pleasure to work with is just around the corner? We passed on hiring anybody in the round of interviews that inspired that blog post, and then found the perfect candidate shortly after!

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