We are having a heck of a time hiring at my current firm. While we haven’t been hiring anyone, we have been interviewing a great many candidates. While interviewing these candidates, speaking with many other engineers, and my own experience, I have attempted to map the “The 5 Love Languages”: Developer Edition.

The love languages are:

  • Challenges
  • Money
  • Culture
  • Learning & Experience
  • New Toys


The type of engineer that appeals to challenges is looking for the next big thing, regardless of pay, presteige. Surmounting this challenge is its own reward, its own rush. This type of engineer is doesn’t want to build a new ecommerce site, she wants to “change human behavior.” She doesn’t want to create a faster car, she wants to create a rocket ship for private space travel. These developers are not easy to find, but if you are good are marketing your vision, he will find you. Think Richard Branson or Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Sergey Brin, these are the entrepreneurs that will attrack these “challenges” lovers, because he are doing on the cool things: Virgin Galactic, SpaceX, Self Driving Cars, and futuristic lifestyle products that change the way people live. Challenges don’t need to this grandiose, mining big data, scaling billions of operations, or dealing with touch math or physics will also attract these candidates. Pitch your companies problems as Mt. Everest, but make sure that the reach the summit is as exciting as the journey.


Git that money, mang! Engineers looking for money come in two varieties, the type who are looking for cash, and the type who are looking for equity. The type who are looking for cash like real money. He may be over the dot-com game, paper options that don’t amount to anything, have a family, or any other reason. These engineers want a great salary and may be looking to start something on the side with the moneys. he may also be looking to continue the lifestyle he are accustomed to. Stability of the company is a big deal with this candidate. The other type of money-loving engineer is the options engineer. She wants skin in the game and may be willing to give up salary for more options. She either really believes in the product or really believes in the management. If you are trying to hook a candidate that wants the cold hard cash, you may be in a bind if you are unwilling to pay at or above market rate. With an options/equity candidate, you should be liberal with these if the candidate is worth it. Chances are that the candidate will be “pay dividends” buy getting them to buy-in to the company early.


This person is looking for a place that may blend the work life balance. In-office meals, in-building gym membership, ping pong tables, entertainment rooms, etc, will appeal to this candidate. This certainly isn’t a sign of a lazy candidate, in fact it may be the opposite. This engineer isn’t necessarily looking to punch out at 5pm, but may stick around through the evening if he can get in a workout and dinner. Having the “#1 Workplace in the city” is what turns on this candidate. The engineering culture or brand may be the “cuture” this candidate seeks. Perhaps “pair programming”, “test-driven development”, “standing desks” and “open-source Fridays” is exactly what turns this candidate on. If the candidate asks “how do you work?” this is a good sign that the candidate wants to know about the engineering culture. If the candidate read about your business culture in an industry rag, its a good sign that candidate may want to simply work in your companies type of environment. Anchor this candidate by pointing out likenesses between your company and Zappos, Google, or Facebook. If your company lacks any of the niceties of todays web companies, you betta double that salary offer!

Learning & Experience

This engineer is egoless, and expecting to be one the least qualified on the team. However, if you have the bandwidth, and buy-in from seniors, this team member may have the great potential. These engineers are looking to soak up everything like a sponge. I like these candidates the most, but I also fear that once she soaks up the info she will either leave for better money, or – having become a senior engineer – become “challenge” seekers, which may present a challege. These engineer may be coming out of a bootcamp and may not have much to offer. Guage the eagerness and desire to learn. This candidate should already be reading github repos, blogs and possibly taking MOOC (edx, coursera) offerings.

New Toys

This engineer is interested in using the hottest technologies du juor. We used to call this “resume driven development.” This candidate may provide amazing value, now, but has a great potential of leaving if a “cooler” technology comes out. Ruby on Rails is not cool, Node.js is cool. Mongodb, Redis, or other data stores are much hipper than Mysql and Postgres. Docker is hipster, AWS is for chumps. Candidates who are looking to experiment with the newest technologies are very likely to continue hacking and exploratory coding with the technologies outside of business hours, which is great. To hook this candidate discuss your willingness, or eagerness, to become a polyclot, polyframework poly-architecture company.

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14 April 2014