Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Wolves Are Pack Animals

Well, it's about that time: I'm hiring (yes, again).

So we've geared up, and done all the job startup stuff:
  • decided what we're looking for
  • written it up in a (hopefully compelling) job req
  • figured out a preferred salary range
  • called the recruiters who have introduced us to good candidates in the past
We've gotten a few resumes in, and I've done a few phone screens. Twice now I've had an otherwise good candidate say something like: "I'm a lone wolf."

Okay, back up. Is this a good thing to say? A lone wolf is typically someone who prefers to (or can only) work in isolation.

Any candidate who says that he/she is a lone wolf is very unlikely to be hired. Why?
  • We're an XP shop. Lone wolves and pair programming don't go well together.
  • A lone wolf has a connotation of being unwilling or unable to work with others. We're a QA team and one of the reasons we work as well as we do is that any of us can ask anyone else a question and not look dumb. (It's amazing how much that alone increases velocity!)
  • Most of the people who believe they work best in isolation have produced code that is very difficult for others to use. Most of the code QA writes is used by others. These two do not go together well.
So I'm not sure where the pride comes from. Independent, self-motivating, able to take on a large project and define it - all those are great things. But lone wolf?

Around here, wolves run in a pack.

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