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Journal Samrobb's Journal: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy - which one are you? 3

I was thinking about non-technical interview questions for software developers this morning, and came up with the above. I'll freely admit that, in and of itself, it's a useless question. So someone says, "I'm a tinker!" - great. Why would you say that you're a tinker, a tailor, a soldier, or a spy? How would you map these arbitrary labels onto software development? What does your choice say about your thought processes, development persona and perceptions?

Is a tinker a one-shot, McGyver-type developer, or the mecahnic that can patch together a solution to just about any problem? Is a tailor someone who crafts elegant, personalized solutions, or someone who takes off-the-shelf components and cuts them to fit? When you think of soldier, do you think of someone doing their job and following orders, or a scout sent to search out the enemy and find a path for others to follow? Is a spy someone who examines competing products, or who researches upcoming technologies that might impact your development team?

What are you - tinker, tailor, soldier, or spy?

Are there any other interview questions of this sort that you've encountered or that you like to ask when you're on the other side of the table?

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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy - which one are you?

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  • Why are you trying to reinvent the wheel? I'm not trying to be critical - I honestly wonder if you think you have some special insight into personalities or if you just are not aware that there are standard personality tests to help people in hiring employees. I've had to take variations of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator [personalitypage.com] for jobs before (including my current one.)

    I'm iNtuitive Thinking....

    • First off, no, I don't think that I have any special insight into personalities, and yes, I am aware of the various personality tests available. I'm not particularly interested in administering, reinventing, or using a personality test. I mean, I'm a developer, not a psychologist! I have an hour or two at most to talk to someone and get a feel for what they're like int erms of technical ability and personality before I make a hire/no hire recommendation. If a personality test says that someone is an INTJ

      • Unrelated to this thread really, but I met someone at a developer group recently that looks to hire people who say they are lazy during the interview. (Not sure what type of question would elict that response.) He reasons that it is easier for him to inspire lazy programmers to work harder to develop code that they will not have to come back to later.

        "The three chief virtues of a programmer are: Laziness, Impatience and Hubris."
        -Larry Wall

"In the face of entropy and nothingness, you kind of have to pretend it's not there if you want to keep writing good code." -- Karl Lehenbauer

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