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?
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.