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Journal Journal: Personality over brains in tech hiring

I've been programming computers for over 20 years, programming in the industry for over 12 years, have my Bachelor of Science degree, and several (everyone tells me) impressive accomplishments on my resume.

I haven't had a steady job in over 2 years. Here's my latest rejection letter. They e-mailed me this 50 minutes after I left their door.


Thank you very much for taking the time out to come and interview with us here at company! I hope you had a decent time while you were here. The programmers all got together and we discussed the interview process and had to make a difficult decision to pass on hiring you.

Technically, you have the most knowledge of anyone we've ever interviewed - you most definitely know your stuff. But personality-wise, we couldn't see you fitting with the culture that we have on our team. I'm sorry it didn't work out, but I thought you'd like to know why we reached our decision.

manager and tech lead were very impressed with your knowledge. I know that personality-wise, all development teams are very different due to the people on those teams - we've spent a very long time building our unique team and the more people we hire, the harder it is to hire the next person because we require everyone on the team to agree with the choice to hire. You had no idea when you came here what kind of culture we have and your technical skills are so impressive that it only came down to personality-fit with the team.

Sorry for the bad news, but I like to give feedback on the interview process. Good luck on any future interviews and thanks again for coming over.

- creative director

What's really weird is that I thought I got along with everyone, and flubbed far more technical questions than I was comfortable with.

So what am I to make of this? Here are my best guesses:

  • I'm a nerd, even by the standards of other nerds, and I need to go watch MTV, or play Grand Theft Auto, for 2 weeks straight or something, so I can be barely socialized.
  • I'm too smart, I'll make the other programmers feel bad about themselves, and the tech leads worry about their jobs.
  • The popular kids from high school even control the market for computer programmers, even though they're far better with people than with computers, and will shun anyone that doesn't fit their mold.
  • I'm the biggest dumbass loser asshole freak-of-nature anyone's ever met, and I'm too dumb to figure it out.

Any other theories?

"The identical is equal to itself, since it is different." -- Franco Spisani