Job Inverview Question: Jonathan, are you a Rockstar Developer?

I thought I’d start a series about job inverview questions I get asked that I found hard or interesting. This post is going to be about

Jonathan, are you a rockstar developer?

Now, job interviews are all unique, even if they have similar parameters. You sit in front of one or multiple people and they try to get to know you and test you a little. As I wrote in How to get a Job in Tech I think job interviews are fun and they’re a chance to sit in a room with people that make a lot more money than you, which doesn’t make them good people, but it makes their time valuable in the eyes of someone!

When I was asked the question, I didn’t really know why I was asked that. A rockstar? What was that even supposed to mean? Was that the people that live-coded crazy things and went by their github handles at conferences? Was that somebody riding the code as if it was a horse that obeyed every one of their commands? Was it somebody seeking fame?

Now I understand the question a little better, I think. It was a test of humility. I admire people like Martin Kleppe, substack or Felix Geisendörfer. To me, they are the stars and they remind me of just how much I have to learn in the field of development. So my answer was a short pause and an explanation that I don’t think I know everything or that I’m the best. That I wish for a work place where people asked me quetions where I could honestly answer:

I don’t know

to then figure it out.

I think my interviewer wanted to see if I was somebody who thought he had it all figured out and get a sense of how much direction I would take and how I would respond to critique, how accepting I would be of choices.

In hindsight, that was a very important question and most of the disagreements we had were very productive, because we actually got to talk about things and they knew I wouldn’t push for something just because reasons.

This may seem silly to many, but it was actually one of the most interesting questions I have received.

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