Never hire someone out of desperation.

When Clear Books started gaining traction in 2010 I was desperate to hire a third developer. I was too desperate.

Our candidates take a 45 minute exam and this particular candidate scored a woeful 25%. However, they also had an industry recognised programming qualification. I overlooked the failed exam and offered a job. Mistake.

I ended the candidate’s probationary period early because the quality of work reflected the failed exam score.

If you have hiring standards then stick to them and don’t flinch. Other hiring opportunities will eventually present themselves.

If you don’t have hiring standards then create them. At the very least introduce a psychometric test to benchmark candidates.

Taking a punt on a hire will waste more time and money than waiting for the right candidate. Wait for the right candidate if you are not 100% sure.

Posted by Tim Fouracre

Tim founded Clear Books in 2008. Like many small business owners he worked from home for 15 months to get his startup off the ground. Today Tim enjoys helping Clear Books, its customers and its growing team innovate and achieve. Tim did his GCE O Levels in Ghana.

One Comment

  1. The qualification in question was the PHP Zend Engineer Certification, which in the past has been a pretty good barometer for us.

    We require all our devs to take it and I have found that those who have passed first time have typically been stronger back end devs than those who have taken two attempts.

    The candidate in question had the qualification when they applied so a key unknown was how many attempts it took them to pass.

    You are right though. This qualification is totally about isolated knowledge tested through multiple choice questions rather than real word application.

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