Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Sometimes You Don't Even Need Eyes

Part Two: Organisational Odours

In Part One we looked at things you might be able to pick up in an interview that can steer you away (or indeed towards) a potential employer. Let's assume that the first interview uncovered no great horrors, and this time, you've been called in for "a chat with HR" , the next part in the gruelling multi-part process that is hiring in a quality organisation.


  • Are you being hired due to a sudden outflux of developers? If so, why?
  • How is the company structured? Wide and flat? Fiercely hierarchical?
  • What's the deal with developer PCs? Is it open-slather, run-whatever-you-like, or a fully-locked down corporate SOE where you'll need to ask a sysadmin to get Java installed?
  • How is the team/department/whatever structured? Are there lots of people with "Architect" in their name?
  • Does the only "upwards" career path require "promotion" to management? Only badness can come from this

Most software developers, if given a choice, will reject the stereotypical "corporate culture" of organisation charts, ineffectual middle-management and communication-by-PowerPoint presentation. Every potential employer exists somewhere on the spectrum between sandal-wearing open slather and six-minute-increment corporate bureaucracy; we just have to choose where we want to play.

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