I fired a programmer who worked for us for fifteen days
Based on my personal experience, which has developed on the basis of interviews with more than three hundred candidates, I come to the conclusion that about 50-60% of employees lie about their resume. Often this is a small lie. I don’t know if I’m right or wrong, but in most cases I close my eyes to such things. I even googled this topic and found interesting statistics: according to the resource Checkster, 78% of candidates deceive an employer somewhere in the hiring process.
Later I will touch on the reasons why developers most often resort to lies. Now let’s turn to a specific case.
Technical interviews take place without my personal involvement. I myself was involved in programming, and I liked it, but over time I began to take on more and more leadership functions until I had to sacrifice this wonderful activity. The programmer in question lied about his experience and passed off someone else’s work as his own. He said that he has a great entrepreneurial spirit – you cannot argue with him here. But I strongly suspect that he received the projects that he showed us in a dishonest way.
Admittedly, he was not a bad developer. He could easily be put in any junior position related to the backend. But we needed a senior.
The process of hiring developers with us consists of three stages:
- First, we select ten candidates for each position.
- Then we give them a little test task. It takes 10-20 minutes to complete. As a result of this stage, half of the applicants are usually eliminated.
- I usually do the final interview myself. In addition to technical skills, it is important to make sure that the person fits into the team and that they have an interest in our work.
We had two excellent developers at the last stage. The second one did a better job than the one I ended up hiring. How the first man managed to complete the task, I never found out. I can only assume that since this stage of the interview took place online, he had the opportunity to attract outside help. It is completely out of the question for someone to cope with the task, but at the same time be unable to do basic things for the position. I understand everyone has ambitions. But if you want to succeed, then you cannot jump over the stairs.
When the developer successfully passed the second stage, I conducted an online interview with him. Everything is transparent here: the goal is to see if a person is suitable for work in our startup. Although according to the test results it was inferior to a competitor, I made a decision in his favor precisely because it seemed to me that it would take root well with us.
I usually take three factors into account when selecting employees: attitude, skills, and team culture. That developer came in second in terms of points for the test task, so I did not doubt his skills. He turned out to be adventurous and eager to work for another startup in order to gain the necessary experience. I thought that this would also benefit us. In addition, he was already familiar with working in startups. Team culture is an important point for any company, and especially for a startup. When hiring, I pay great attention to this factor. That developer has already worked in startups, both as an ordinary employee and as a founder. This settled the matter.
The problems started from the very first day, but our CTO took it easy at first. We thought that he, like any new employee, needs time to get into the project.
Three days later, the CTO told me that something was wrong here. The developer could not even cope with simple things and did not understand the essence of the project at all. Our junior – and he showed more competence. We decided to give him some more time.
On the tenth day of work, the developer received a simple task for a couple with a junior. He could not give the junior any instructions and clearly felt ill at ease. Complaints began to arrive from other employees as well. Here we already clearly understood what he wrote in the summary. No one told him this to his face, but I think he himself guessed that everyone knew.
On the fifteenth day, I invited him into the office and said that I needed to find a reason why he would leave. It was felt that he received this news with relief.
Although he lied to us and it would have been easy to prove it, we did not act in this direction. In the end, the ineffective selection process is our fault too, and we didn’t want to humiliate the person. Still, it was unpleasant to fire. I did what I could for him, offered to move to the junior position, but pride did not allow him. You can understand. The technical director discussed with him in detail what knowledge he lacks and what skills need to be improved, recommended resources for training. For the future, we’ve added a few more steps to the recruiting process so that these stories don’t repeat themselves.
Lying on your resume can always play against you and, most importantly, ruin your reputation. If everything is revealed, this is fraught with dismissal – it is easier to put off the thought of a particular position right away until you have acquired the necessary skills.
Developers most often cheat employers in the following:
- Experience, that is, the specific number of years they have worked. To be honest, employers tend to turn a blind eye to it if it’s not too much on.
- Previous work, namely why they left. Here, many are lying, they are afraid that the truth will reduce their chances. Often, developers quit in the hope of finding better jobs. We know this very well and do not blame anyone for looking for opportunities, honesty here will only be a plus. But it is not worth it to criticize your previous place of work too violently, even if you were mistreated there. Those who have been fired from their previous jobs rarely voice this fact in interviews, and this is perceived as the norm. However, here you can also show honesty – it will be better if the employer finds out from you.
- Portfolio – examples of work that programmers attach to their resume, sometimes in fact they turn out to be “leftist”. I definitely do not advise to appropriate other people’s projects, for such things they can be fired.
Finding a job is the ultimate goal, but don’t forget about your reputation. Not so long ago, two of my developers decided to try their luck in a large corporation, where they pay better. They sent in a resume, got through the first interview, and got a call from the corporation asking for recommendations (one of the hiring staff there is a good friend of mine). I praised them to the skies, said that I would not let them go if I had the opportunity to raise their salaries. And all because he treated them well, considered them to be skillful and conscientious workers – they did not have to compromise their reputation.
Honesty is the best policy both in employment and in everyday work, and it’s safer at heart. If you are not only a capable programmer, but also a good employee who works as for yourself, this usually causes the appropriate attitude from the employer. And if it doesn’t, then it’s probably time to look for something else. When the process of programming a person is fascinated, and at the same time work is not enjoyable, as a rule, the problem is on the side of the company.
And do not forget: it is not necessary to start not only with a senior, but even with a junior. If you do not yet have confidence in your abilities, you can always get a job as an intern. Better than starting your career by cheating on your resume.