At work I continue to spend a lot of my time on trying to recruit a front-end developer. And I continue to be surprised by how low-quality many of the applications are. It is very easy to be above average in this process because the average is so atrocious. It makes me realize that in any reasonable job market, short of a total collapse in IT spending, I am always going to find a good job, just because I don’t produce crap.

One key part of our recruitment process is a coding task. I normally send it out before booking an interview, because it weeds out the candidates whose technical skills are clearly not sufficient for the job. It takes me less time to judge someone’s code than to do a full interview.

You’d think that in a situation like this, people would send me the absolute best that they can do (within reason). And instead I get crap. Lack of technical skill or experience is one thing, and just means that this is not the right job for them. But lack of care really has no excuse.

Sloppy JavaScript code with missing semicolons. Code that is indented at random and has random blocks of blank lines interspersed here and there. If/else blocks that, upon close reading, turn out to contain identical code, except for whitespace.

Also, not a single candidate has reflected upon the fact that I have many submissions to look through. I would immediately be incline to judge more positively a candidate who named the file with their submission in a way that would help me tell it apart from all the others. Instead they all name them, reqtest.rar,, JsonTask.rar, WS.rar,, etc.

Rant over.

PS: On the plus side, a few of the candidates have actually hosted their solution on their own server and just sent me a URL, which is a very nice way to avoid the file naming problem completely.

(See also: Interviewing for a developer job at ReQtest.)