With apologies to Intel for usurping and corrupting their commercial tag line, in a classic “our rock stars are not like your rock stars” move, Stack Overflow (one of the best programming information web sites out there lately) has opened up a job board with a twist, employers will browse and beg you to work for them rather than the usual hiring is broken process of a top programmer looking for a job from indifferent programmers.
Here is the twist though; the programmers have to show that they really are top rock star programmers via their participation in Stack Overflow. Stack Overflow is going to use the process of community vetting of knowledge, skills, and the programmers ability to get difficult arcane programming ideas across to people who simply need the help. Employers will be able to browse the top programmers in the world and know they are the top programmers as well as their ability to communicate, document, and write, because of the interaction between community, sharing information on the web site, and the programmer themselves.
Instead of submitting a resume, you’ll fill out a CV, which links back to your Stack Overflow account, so that you can demonstrate your reputation in the community and show us all how smart you really are. To a hiring manager, the fact that you took the time to help a fellow programmer with a detailed answer in some obscure corner of programming knowledge, and demonstrated mastery, is a lot more relevant than the Latin Club you joined in school. Employers can see how good you are at communicating, how well you explain things, how well you understand the tools that you’re using, and generally, if you’re a great developer or not. And they can see your peer reputation, so all that hard work you’ve been putting into helping people on Stack Overflow can karmically come back and help you upgrade your job to the latest, state-of-the-art, great place to work. Source: Joel on Software
The reason why this is interesting is that it does flip recruiting and hiring on its head, people want to make sure they are getting quality employees while the employee is looking for something that is at least interesting to do. Top programmers from what I have seen throughout my career have always been something special, if you need something very cool done, you go to a top programmer, you don’t go to the “programmer pool”, you want someone who is going to see the challenge of the issue, not someone who sees more “work”.
The only drawback to this one is going to be Ego; if the programmer gets a huge ego over the process then this is going to be a difficulty when it comes to management engaging with the programmer. If the programmer or the people who participate in this process know how to work with people and can keep their ego in check, then this is a great idea. The only way this is going to back fire is if the programmer ends up being more trouble than they are worth to the organization.
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(Cross-posted @ TechWag)