What makes a good software engineer? 💻
This is the question which popped in my head when I decided to improvise a video and upload it on Qoorio.
No preparation, no makeup, no filters, just sheer stream of consciousness on topic(s) which I find important.
Despite the low volume and weird intonation, I found the video relatively bearable to watch, what do you think? 🌿
Do you think interviewing for grit is important while hiring? How to interview for grit?
Asked by Mangirdas Adomaitis
There are different definitions of grit, so let me give you mine. I define grit as "passionate perseverance despite failure".
Research shows that grit is associated with career success, along with high consciousness (personality trait) and particularly high IQ (general intelligence).
Contrary to consciousness and IQ that are "programmed" by our genes and developed through proper parenting/schooling, grit is one of the few abilities that can be actually taught or learned, even in later stages of life.
So, if you are a hiring manager and you want to identify grit in your candidates, here is what you can do at every recruitment stage:
1. Employer branding. Share the success stories of your employees that you consider gritty. Make sure that gritty candidates could identify with your gritty colleagues. A good example will always attract good people.
2. Pre-screening. Look in the CV or LinkedIn for hints of projects that required a lot of time and effort and had a high risk of failure. If the candidate managed to surf through the project and feels proud about it, whether the project succeeded or failed, the person might be gritty.
3. Interviewing. While listening to the person's story, look for hints of perseverance and passion. People who are considered gritty do not give up easily, maintain focus, and are able to postpone pleasure, e.g. product shipment, high revenues, etc. You can also ask to provide specific examples.
4. Psychological assessment. If you have the resources, you can always test people using personality tests. Here is an example of a valid and reliable one: https://angeladuckworth.com/grit-scale/. However, do not trust only in the test results, see the bigger picture.
Here is a list of red flags that may indicate a lack of grit:
- Tendency to switch between jobs or projects without no particular reason (however, do not jump to conclusions without hearing the candidate's story first)
- Tendency to drop out of the university or college, especially during the last years of study (however, make sure that the person just did not choose an interesting job over boring studies)
- Difficulty keeping attention on a single task, especially if the task is supposed to be interesting and engaging (this is more visible during hands-on technical interviews)
- Lack of passion or excitement about one's job, area of interest, or field of expertise (gritty people are usually "geeks" in their own unique way and they will let you know about their nerdiness during the interview)
Hope I answered!
People are increasingly switching their careers to the IT field, especially programming. 💻
Oftentimes, they cannot answer why they want to learn how to code, except for financial motivations.
Because the question is often asked during job interviews, it is important to have a good answer. What can you do about it?
In my professional experience, the royal road to the IT field is immersing yourself in a disciplined process of research, support, and planning.💡
This includes taking online courses (e.g. Coursera, Udemy, edX), finding a mentor (e.g. Women Go Tech, idialogue), and getting proper career coaching.
An industry-informed coach will help you deal with your fears, collect your thoughts around your values, goals, and motivations, as well as come up with a reasonable career plan.
After that, you will be able to provide solid reasons why you want to join the IT field as well as explain your vision and plan for the future. ☀️
In a culturally biased system, you do not have to get empowered by someone to feel empowered. What you need is a value proposition that would be selected for by the system, regardless of your gender, race, age, or any other identity factor.
In the early days of my HR career, I found myself in various situations when I felt underpowered by controlling or toxic managers. They (the powerful) believed that I had to earn their trust through blind loyalty and over-work rather than partnership and smart-work.
What did I do? At first, I tried to play by the rules (what most people do). It worked in the beginning until I burned out and became miserable. Later, when I became a bit wiser, I started challenging their status quo and unhealthy decisions. It also did not work, as I was not seen as a "team player" (this is the verbiage they would use against independents).
Eventually, I did something totally different: I left the corporate world to pursue my own IT recruitment business. It was not easy in the first year or so (it took some time to solidify my client base), but eventually, it worked out really well: good work led to new referrals without any marketing. How did it feel? It felt empowering! Because I did not have to kiss anyone's feet to get well-paid and do what I was passionate about.
So if you want to get into a culturally biased system and succeed, you either
▶️ play according to the rules (traditional path, very tough, requires a lot of sacrifices),
▶️ attempt to change them (important for social change, but creates a lot of backlash),
▶️ wait for a "Bill Gates" type to hand it over to you (the "empowerment" stuff, gives you the fish, not the rod), or
▶️ you hack it by creating or finding a backdoor (the most independent but rewarding path)
In my situation, the backdoor was the intuition and later the gained understanding that many small to midsized companies valued working with freelancers more than with big agencies. So, I was able to provide them with what they actually needed (not necessarily asked) which was speed, quality, and, most importantly, valuable guidance.
When you really think about it, a free market does not care about your gender, age, or any other form of identity, as long as you are able to create value and put money into the system. Unfortunately, working internally, it becomes much more difficult, as you have to compete with other employees first before you are allowed to compete on behalf of the organization with other market players.
So, if you also consider yourself a lone wolf, one of the things you could do for your career (especially here in Lithuania) is not pursue a career (!) but rather create a business and do it your own way instead of waiting for someone to hand you over a valuable position, because you are X (insert identity) or you did Y (insert sacrifice).
As long as the legal system and market is more or less fair and transparent, the only fight you have to win is not with the "evil capitalists" but yourself. Unless you are fine with being a slave to the system, the psychological work will have to be done.