Author: Jerry Jones

  • Lessons from Hiring Software Engineers

    Lessons from Hiring Software Engineers

    I’ve been a jack of all trades web developer for nearly 15 years and moved to working full-time in hiring in September 2020. At Automattic, we’re hiring as fast as we can. This has given me a chance to work with and evaluate hundreds of software engineers over the past eight months. The Day-to-Day: A […]

  • Tips for Text-based Interviews

    Tips for Text-based Interviews

    Since joining the hiring team at Automattic in the fall of 2019, I’ve noticed different patterns and preferences on text-based interviews. Some of these are also general interviewing tips. Send shorter messages The pacing of the conversation is improved when you send multiple shorter messages instead of one multi-paragraph message. Answer as you go along. […]

  • Incremental Simplicity

    I just finished reading Code Simplicity, and, as someone who has a tendency for perfectionism, one thing that stood out to me was the idea of not worrying about building something perfect. It’s OK to not aim for perfection on version one. Or any version. You don’t even know what perfection looks like at when […]

  • Qualities of Expertise

    Gaining expertise is difficult enough, but how can you tell if yourself (or someone else) has reached expert status? Unfortunately, multiple-choice tests are ineffective predictors since the benefit of expertise is being able to conjure up complex, situational-dependent solutions where there is no “correct” answer. One of the simpler ideas is to see how long […]

  • It’s OK to Move On

    It’s OK to Move On

    As a joke (with some seriousness), I bought a glass-like impossible puzzle. It’s made of clear acrylic, has eight corners for extra trickiness, and it’s impossible to see which side is “up.” My wife is much better at puzzles than I am, and I thought this might be finally be her match. After an hour […]

  • Flickering Lights and Simple Fixes

    For months, our bedroom light would not turn on. Well, at times it would, randomly illuminating the room whenever it seemed fit. And at others, turn off without warning. As far as we could tell, there were no signs of ghosts. We were having our attic turned into livable space and the contractors had recently […]

  • Greenhouse Scorecard User Scripts

    Greenhouse Scorecard User Scripts

    Since joining the hiring team at Automattic, I’ve been using the recruiting/hiring software Greenhouse to score Code Tests and evaluate trial candidates. There are some things that have annoyed me a little about the site, so I wrote a few user scripts to improve my own time on Greenhouse. A user script is JavaScript that […]

  • Honesty in Anonymous vs Confidential Surveys

    Honesty in Anonymous vs Confidential Surveys

    I knew I needed to build some kind of survey to see if dropping the time limit from the code test would have any measurable impact on time spent or pressure. But I wasn’t sure if it should be anonymous or not. On one hand, I assumed the data for an anonymous survey would be […]

  • The Bias of Timed Code Tests

    The Bias of Timed Code Tests

    I clearly remember the code test when going through the hiring process at Automattic. As someone with imposter syndrome and anxiety, the thought of having my code under a microscope, and confirming my fear of not being a “real” developer, isn’t exactly my idea of a fun time. But, I made it through, and was […]

  • More than a Seat at the Table

    Pre-COVID when we could go to restaurants, there were times I’d sit down at the table unnoticed. The servers would walk by. After a few minutes, I’d wave to get their attention as they passed by again. It’s happened to all of us. It’s not a big deal. But what if the server continues to […]