These aren’t the droids you’re looking for

Not so long ago I’ve started to see a pattern when I’m speaking with companies who contact to offer me a job.

I need to say that I have 10+ (and a bit more) as a programmer. Many of this companies, after see my experience, they express an interest of some kind of mentoring role. The confusion on the exact term is part of the chat, someone use mentor, other try to express the desire of sharing, etc. In general they try to avoid the term lead/leader/leadership only because it may open the chance to money variations.

Any chat about mentoring roles -or the selected word- starts more or less the same way "…we would like to have someone with experience to share knowledge, be a mentor for others …", thats the hipotesis they have, and I need to say it’s a valid one.

My next move on that chat is try to figure it out if they have any plan, idea, or if they have any problem in particular they want to solve. Speak about sharing knowledge/mentoring withou a plan is not a good combination.

So my questions begins:

M: What the role you’re offering?
C: Well… we need a software engeenier knowing X and Y
M: Ok, but what’s about the sharing / mentoring you mention?
C: yes, we want it, becuase you have the experience…
M: Ok, let me try to refrase my quesition. What’s the problem you need to solve?
C: Good question!, let me think…

At this point the first alarm appears… A company who doesnt know whats the problem they need to resolve and tries to hire people, is more common that you may think.

Something needs to change inside companies culture

It’s time for companies to start to think in terms of problems they want to solve and not a list of "skills" from candidates.

I had inteviews where I was fire with quesitons about: OO, Java, Javascript, Ruby, Databases (relationals and not relational), HTML, CSS, and more. Of course those interviews can’t go well (I’ll write about self lobotomy on presure and why any interviewed can’t answer simple questions on that situation in another post).

We all understand is not easy to verify a candidate has the necesary knowledge for a position, but doing a interview over 3 or 4 languages, same number of frameworks and other concepts is like if you want to find an unicorn in your backyard.

No, you dont need a mentor, you need a plan

These days it’s more evident the lack of idea about what hiring is looking for. Yes, we know which languages, frameworks, tools you want. Those are only tools to do the job. Hiring needs to start to focus on the problem to solve, to see if a candidate has the experience or if it has enught expericne to get what he/she need to do the task.

By the way, anyone with a bit of experience knows if a company is beeing honest on an interview. It will be better if a interviewer stop telling all is good, they’ve a green field, etc.

I think this can be discover with less than 3 questions and the first one is "What’s the biggest problem you want to solve?"

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