Once a while, recruiters from the company I work at, ask me whether I have some friend (developer) who’s looking for a job. Typically, this kind of dialogue looks something like:
Recruiter: „Hey Darek! I have a great job offer for a .NET developer! Maybe you’ve got someone who would be interested?”
Me: „Show me what you got. Yeah… I have one who knows all the technologies and worked with this kind of architecture. Although he’s got half a year less experience than required I can assure you that he’s very good, definitely above average.”
Recruiter: „No doubt, but the client requires at least X years of experience, so we cannot recommend him, I’m, sorry. Maybe next time.”
Me: „Well, fine…”
Unfortunately, this happens quite often. Just go to any site with job offers for developers and you’ll easily spot that there’s some „informal rage” for each position. From what I’ve seen:
- Junior developer – 0-3 years of experience
- Mid developer – 3-5 years of experience
- Senior developer – 5+ years of experience
To be clear – I don’t blame recruiters for that because they do their job trying to satisfy all the criteria. But here’s my opinion about that.
To me, this requirement makes completely no sense in our industry. I would even say it harms our industry by reducing the number of great candidates only based on one number. It looks like the more years of experience you have the better developer you are. But that doesn’t necessarily have to be true and it depends on many factors.
The main issue is that using this requirement we assume that everyone is developing at a similar pace, so in other words, we generalize. So I have one question, who would be a better candidate?
- A guy with 5 years of experience who has been involved in integration with the external system for last 3 years, or a guy with 3 years of experience who finished few different projects in different technologies?
- A guy with 4 years of experience who only codes at work, or the guy with 2 years of experience who spends another 3 hours on programming at home?
- A guy with 5 years of experience who moved from Java to C# a year ago, or a guy with 4 years of experience who started with C# from the very beginning.
For all the above questions there’s one, common answer.
We don’t know.
The easiest way to find out is to invite both to the interview and verify their knowledge. That’s exactly what most of the companies do. They choose the candidates that seem to fit the criteria and verify them. So, why can’t the companies simply get rid of this magic number and give chances to anyone who thinks he’ll be able to do the job.
Some would say that it’s not that simple because the whole recruitment process costs a lot of money. Yeah, I know that. But on the other, I hear a lot of complaints from the recruiters that some developers who seemed very competent on the paper, at the interview, proved to be somehow weaker than the junior developers.
The reason is very simple. It’s easy to impress someone with your CV, the hard part is to do the same in the real world.
So for all companies who are looking for new developers, try to judge people based on actual knowledge, not dry numbers. You may be surprised how many talented people you can find in our industry.