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What do you look for in employers?

Joel, we've read your advice about how to conduct interviews from the employer's perspective but what about from the prospective employee's perspective?

When you used to look at companies to work for, or if you were to do so in the future, what would you look for in a company before deciding to persue employment with a firm?

Thakns, Marcus

Marcus Leon
Monday, March 29, 2004

That's what the Joel Test is supposed to be for...

Although, there are lots of good places to work (good to employees, that is) with low Joel Test scores, especially if you're given a chance to raise it.

Joel Spolsky
Fog Creek Software
Monday, March 29, 2004

I look for different things in an org before I will work for them.  Culture is the main thing - its got to be a happy environment.

I also expect a PM to be both technical and management capable.  Last thing I want is to work for a noddy that has no idea how to resolve issues on a project (with out technical ability it just boils down to the best personality wins), likewise I dont want to work for someone who is technical only (it just tends to be a battle of ego's).

I'm one of those rare people that are both technical and managerial, so I expect my employers to have the same or slightly better capability.

I interview my prospective imployers pretty hard, but at the end of the day, if I get on well with them, I usually find that towards the end of the interview we'll most likely be nattering about the weather or something along those lines.

As for tests, I usually quietly decline them and leave.  The reason is that I know my field inside out and backwards and I expect my employers to as well.  I need to be able to sit down and natter (chat) to them for a while on the subject so I can guage if they have the capability they say they have, likewise I expect them to be determining the same capability out of me.  Tests dont allow that.

Andy Watson
Thursday, April 8, 2004

With all due respect, I just interviewed a person, which you
probably would like to chat with, and which seemed very
knowledgeable in the field (bioinf) up to the moment I
proposed him to reverse a string in-place. Considering that
interview conditions are challenging, I'd allocate 15 min for
this no-brainer, 1-minute task. This guy (whom everybody
else consider quite good) managed to spend almost 1.5
HOURS without producing correct result (I did not insist,
at the end it resembled torture, and for both of us). He can
reason - e.g. he pretty well estimated the price of airline
jet, but not program. And no amount of chat can substitute
small, but very effective test.

Victor Joukov
Saturday, April 10, 2004

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