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I agree 100% with Mark on this. Having worked in both a start up environment and a corporate environment I can say they both have their advantages and disadvantages. A lot of the time people that come out of a start up environment have a hard time dealing with all of the procedures and practices in a corporate environment. The start up employee usually wants to just get it done and cut through all the red tap. This can cause a lot of frustration for the employee and employer.
I try to keep my teams with both types of programmers. We have the start up programmer around to push the team to get things done at a quicker pace. And the corporate programmers to pull the reins back to make sure we are doing things correctly. But that is just my opinion and how I like to set up my teams.
So in your case, do you actively try to keep your team balanced? Say you feel your team is slowing down, so you decide to hire someone new. If you had two identical candidates, one with startup experience and one with corporate experience, would you be more inclined to hire the startup candidate to benefit your team's speed, or does it not really come to mind?
It would depend on what both of the candidates skills are. It would also depend on what our deadlines are. The team maybe slowing down because they just came off a big project.
It also depends on how the team feels about the candidates. If they have bad feelings about one or both of them I won't hire. One of the most important things to me and my team is that everyone works well together. So I won't hire any one the whole team doesn't like.
If we were slowing down and didn't just get off a big project I would probably go with the start up person. Hope that helps answer your question.
So it seems that the fact that one candidate comes from a corporate background and one comes from a startup background is largely unimportant to you; you care more about how the individual fits into the team. But what about that initial step, before you meet the individuals. How do you weed out potential applicants? Do you take into account the type of company a person has worked for during this process?
There isn't just one thing that we go by when hiring. Yes how the individual fits into the team is one of the biggest factors. But where they worked and what experience they have is also a very big factor as well. It also depends on what role we are trying to fill. If a senior developer has just gotten done and we really need to replace them we wouldn't hire some one with out a lot of experience. But if the need wasn't immediate we would probably take some one with no experience and train them.
I guess what I am saying is that there are a varying degree of what people look at when hiring. You can't just blindly say oh this person worked at a start up so they must be a good developer that is passionate about it. Or this person worked at a corporation so they must not be passionate about development.
So when your coworkers tell you that companies look fondly at people that have worked at start ups I would say they are full of it. Some places might do that but it isn't a place that I would want to work at. I would want them to take a much broader look at the candidates and much sure they are getting the right fit for the job.
And also if you like resource management type things, check out the Industrial Craft[^] mod. This mod has stolen many days from my life (and it's got server-side support as well, so you can find online communities running it).